Global Warming, Never As Simple As It Would Seem

Global warming/climate change has been in the news again the past few days with a lot of marches and calls to action across the USA and the rest of the planet.  I don’t have any strong feelings about the subject either way, although you have been able to find my thoughts the past 7 years or so on this page.

One of the reasons I hesitate to jump right onto the bandwagon is that even though many say the “science is settled”, it’s probably not truly settled.  An excellent example was this article in the Seattle Times yesterday.


The study was published in a peer-reviewed scientific publication.  The main conclusion is that the small warming we’ve seen so far along the West Coast the past 100 years is within the range of natural variability and may be caused by shifting wind patterns.  Interesting don’t you think?  I have not read the study, but I think it just points out that there are still lots of things we don’t know about how the atmosphere/oceans act.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

9 Responses to Global Warming, Never As Simple As It Would Seem

  1. JLA says:

    Mark, what are your thoughts on polar warming?

  2. Garron near Washington Square says:

    We knew in the 1930’s that putting lead into the gasoline was extremely unhealthy, yet it took until the ’80s to get the lead out. Just like we knew that cigarettes weren’t beneficial to our health. Hello! You are lighting something on fire and inhaling it!!! Mother Earth has the same issue, we are lighting fuel on fire and Mother Earth has to breathe what we’re exhaling out the tail pipes of our SUV’s.

    But, through the history of Earth’s existence, she has prevailed through incredible disasters. If we get out of hand, Earth will prevail again. With in a reasonable amount of time after our demise, she will again have clean bill of health to raise the next gen. of life. I’m just saying that we are incredibly naive about the world we think we control, and that there are ways we can control what we do in taxing climate.

    What we fail to recognize is that we are just living in a period between: ice ages, Earth shifting pole changes, tilts and wobbles in our orbit around the sun, continental drifts, volcanic cycles, meteor and comet strikes,, sun cycles, ect…

    We are extremely lucky to be here, right now, in a pocket of a warm cycle that allows us to exist and contemplate our weather and the ways that it may impact us, and we can do something to actually influence its cyclical cycles. Sitting here bickering about political views accomplishes nodda! If we are to survive the next extinction event that history tells us is inevitable, we need to be preparing instead of debating!

  3. JP says:

    Karl, interesting perspective. However, I just don’t foresee impoverished families picking up a used Prius any time soon. Even with gas prices around three to four dollars a gallon, a used gas engine car will be much more affordable to purchase and operate overall. And when you stop to think about it, a plug in electric car adds to the demand on the electric grid, which essentially means that electric cars run on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Change is taking place, albeit very slowly. Some day a used Nissan Leaf will make sense for an impoverished family, but that day is a long ways away. Short term affordability of LED bulbs for the poor is not yet a reality.

    • dharmabum says:

      “Impoverished families” as you keep stating, are not the problem, look around at the conspicuous consumption of just about everyone else. How could there not be a major impact on the planet and climate.

  4. pdxgeologist says:

    I’m not fully convinced of the % of causation either way. I’m also not convinced that my house is going to burn down, but I have insurance. IF humans are causing, or even contributing (we are) to global warming, then we should do everything we can to ratchet it back and, at least, slow it down. The consequences of a warming planet are severe. And as Karl suggests, we are clever enough to turn this fossil fuel dependence upside down, and make a profit doing it.

    And now for my bi-yearly Panama weather report: Hot and humid, with afternoon thunderstorms until January.


  5. How ironic that one of the places of the world with the most ecological mindset, is also one of the places that’s least likely to change due to humans dumping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere!

    In a world where science and reason prevailed over all opposing forces, the acceptance of both anthropomorphic climate change AND of an activist policy to address it, would have happened decades ago. The fact that it has not suggests that other forces triumph over science and reason. As far as I can tell, the two most obvious “other forces” are free-market ideology and vested class interests, both energy and non-energy alike.

    It should be self-evident to anybody who understands how real-world capitalism works, that established energy industries would be afraid of inconvenient worldly truths that might ultimately cause a chain of events that threatened its ‘bottom line’. But the funny thing is, is that there’s no reason why investors cannot shift their capital to new forms of energy as they become economically feasible. (And the fact is that plenty of wealthy capitalists are throwing their weight behind the climate movement nowadays.)

    So it’s only the people with “sunk” investments in oil, who have a stake in the energy economy remaining oil-based. And since the energy marketplace would be shifting over the long-term rather than short-term, sunk costs are less of a factor anyway. The capitalist system can probably adjust to green energy policies quite nicely – just like it successfully accommodated higher tax and wage regimes from the 1930s through 1970s.

    The problem is that if the people discover that a free enterprise system can accommodate green-energy policy, they may start demanding higher taxes and wages out of the system too. And that’s bad for billionaires. Hence the reason to keep the Milton Friedman and Austrian economics myths alive – lest the Pitchfork Mafia starts coming for your estates and your hedge funds!

  6. Fred Vandecoevering says:

    Thanks Mark for that level headed thought out comment on the subject of climate. You see I believe climates are always changing, my recent trip to Yosemite showed me the proof. The evidence of climates changing is written on the walls there and long before man was there.

    From one “Monitor” boy to another!

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