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Drought And The Mississippi

American drought and the mighty Mississippi. Running low. We’re looking at climate change, commerce and the fight over water on the Big Muddy.

This Nov. 28, 2012 photo provided by The United States Coast Guard shows man-made dikes along the shoreline of the Mississippi River South of St. Louis. (AP/Coast Guard)

This Nov. 28, 2012 photo provided by The United States Coast Guard shows man-made dikes along the shoreline of the Mississippi River South of St. Louis. (AP/Coast Guard)

The mighty Mississippi knows floods and the mighty Mississippi knows drought.

Right now, it’s deep in drought country.  2012 was the hottest year on record in the US.  So dry crops shriveled in the fields.  Worst drought in 80 years.  Not good news for the Mississippi River.

South of St. Louis, it’s so shallow now that barges can barely travel.  A world of grain, coal, iron, gravel, looking for a way to move.  And big tensions over the water that remains, and where it needs to flow.

This hour, On Point:  we’re looking at drought, climate, commerce – and the shrunken Mississippi.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Gerald Galloway, professor of engineering at the University of Maryland, focuses on water resources policy and management.

Martin Lipinski, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute  and professor of civil engineering  at the University of Memphis.

Craig Philip, CEO of Ingram Barge Company

Justin Schoof, professor and chair of Geography and Environmental Science at Southern Illinois University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Bloomberg News “Barge operators on the Mississippi River say the worst drought in 80 years may put at risk gains from emergency dredging and rock removal aimed at keeping the nation’s busiest waterway open at least for this month.”

Discovery News “A new year has started, but last year’s drought is still afflicting the United States. The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 73 percent of the contiguous U.S. is still in drought. Rain has slaked the thirst of parts of the Northeast and Southeast, but dry conditions expanded in other regions.”

USA Today “The commercial shipping industry has warned since November that if low water makes moving cargo too dangerous, a 200-mile stretch of the Mississippi between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill., would be effectively closed. If that happens, says Debra Colbert of the Waterways Council, which represents shippers and ports, billions of dollars’ worth of goods and thousands of jobs would be affected, rattling the entire U.S. economy.”

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    _Is there any evidence that points to floods or drought as the most possible reason for the disappearance of the Cahokia Indian people, that populated the area just east of Saint Louis, Mo., in Illinois? For those of you that don’t know about these people, I note that they literally disappeared prior to the arrival of Europeans! This area is very often swamp like during most years. Also I want the listeners to remember the great flood of 1993. Maybe we should remname “Climate change”, to “ Climate Swings”.

    _I have brought this up before, but no one picked up on it, so I thought I would try again. In all the talk about man made climate change, scientist never mention the changing albedo of the Moon. The Moon continues to move away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches per year. This must certainly have an ongoing and complex effect on the Earths climate, as the Earth is receiving less reflected radiation from the Sun, as a result of the Moons “gravitational drift”. Further, this process must be having some kind of effect on the Oceans tides, and thereby the flow of the Oceans currents and the distribution of salts and minerals throughout the world and therefore rain patterns . Let me be clear, I do believe that humans affect the climate by the sum of all of our actions and processes, however, I also believe that the Earth and its’ systems are Complex Systems, in the mathematical sense and that there may be “local” tipping points in these mathematical relationships, that could cause unexpected and diametrically opposed outcomes. We would be wise to consider all scenarios and think them through to their conclusions. As terrible as global warming would be, I dare say, a return to Ice Age conditions would be FAR more devastating to the human race.
    _
    I would also like to ask, what is the history of the ratios of human “out-gassing” to volcanic “out-gassing” ?

    • andreawilder

      I’m probably older than any one of you–70 years– so the evidence from old snapshots about depth of snow fall in New England has for me some salience.  This drought is more than weather.  I check the reservoirs when I drive around NE, they are down.

      Thoreau is even older than I am.  He practiced phenology, the recording and analysis of spring bloom times–all later than what we have now.  If you go over his writing you will find casual mention of snow levels
      that last into March and April.

      Snow melt is down in the US and areas in the sub-continent.  Look also at glacier disappearance.

      The problems here are not regional and not national, they are multinational.

      • Wm_James_from_Missouri

        The Thoreau comment was clever and a nice touch !

    • Don_B1

      The movement of the Moon away from the Earth is almost certainly (as certainly as any science can be) NOT the cause of Earth’s warming, which is accelerating since the early 1800s, not just a constant change, which is what the Moon has been doing since it was formed.

      The big driver among the greenhouse gases is carbon dioxide (CO2) which, when emitted remains in the atmosphere for over a hundred-year half-life, and then is absorbed by the sea and rain to return to the Earth.

      On its way, it makes the oceans more acidic, disrupting sea creatures life cycles, making the shells of clams, scallops, lobsters, crabs harder to form and killing coral, which provide the habitat for reproduction of the majority of fish.

      Bottom line: there is no, repeat no, correlation, not to mention causal relationship, between the steady increase in the distance between the Earth and Moon and the rise and fall of CO2 over the millennia.

      See Skeptical Science (www.skepticalscience.com) for explanations of the different causes and non-causes of climate change. Also check out Climate Progress, Grist (Dave Roberts), DeSmogBlog, RealClimate and DotEarth.

      • hennorama

        Don_B1 – very well said.

        Apologies to the placement of the rest of this post – I’m DISQUSted again.

        To Wm_James_from_Missouri – I’ve visited several of these mound sites over the years and have always been struck by the similarities between them and the Mesoamerican cities and temples, the Egyptian pyramids, and other similar structures around the world.  I’d particularly recommend the Effigy Mounds National Monument on the bluffs over the upper Mississippi Valley in northeast Iowa.
         
        Many theories exist about the disappearance of the Mound Builders.
        Climate change, overpopulation, and epidemic disease are the top theories.  There was some contact with Europeans during the late Mississipian period, and Native American groups in general were decimated by epidemic diseases introduced by the early explorers and colonists.
         
        They may also have been negatively impacted by the climate chaos associated with the worldwide solar dimming of 535 to 536 AD.  This event was described in historical accounts written at the time, all over the world.  In his book “Catastrophe: A Quest for the Origins of the Modern World,” David Keys theorized that this was caused by a massive volcanic eruption, probably in the vicinity of Sumatra and Java, the same location as the more well-known Krakatoa eruption of 1883.
         
        PBS’  Secrets of the Dead series ran an episode about this.  You can read the transcripts and other info here:
        http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/previous_seasons/html/e1-resources.html
         
        For more info on the Mound Builders from the National Park Service:
        http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/mounds/builders.htm
        http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/mounds/learnmore.htm

  • Ed75

    This is part of the upcoming disaster.

    • Gregg Smith

      Don’t sweat it (pun intended).

    • Don_B1

      It certainly will be unless the emission of CO2 from burning fossil fuels for energy is STOPPED soon.

      Supposedly God told man to take care of the Earth. Many religious groups, even some evangelical groups, agree and are supporting cutting emissions.

      But it takes more than just ignorance, it takes  willful ignorance to ignore man’s role, which has been strongly documented.

      What are you doing to acknowledge your responsibility to ACT NOW?

      Just saying God is sending a “message” and attributing it to other human actions will get you a permanent residence in one of Dante’s lower levels, probably the lowest one.

      May you enjoy your deserved fate!

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Now Don, Ed didn’t say “God is sending a message” this very time.

        But given his regular spiel, it seems like we read his missives, and we interpolate that into it, because when he doesn’t it’s the odd man out.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          I don’t know, I was pretty impressed by Ed’s comments on both hours today. I was pleasantly surprised by their lack of incitement.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            I don’t trust him to not mean it when he doesn’t say it explicitly. It reeks of being just below the surface.

            I mean, I say “mediascape” and “Beltway Inbred” all the time, and I mean even when I don’t drop those terms into my posts.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I know exactly what you mean and it is always underlying with Ed. I was just impressed that he showed some restraint today, I hope there’s more to come in the future.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Yep. I guess I hope that, too.

  • Gregg Smith

    Here we go again. NCDC cooks the numbers for public consumption. Many climate conspiracist freely admit they feel justified in exaggerating the threat because of it’s perceived potential impact. Doom and gloom sells every time. It always has and it always will. The conspiracists understand that quite well. And don’t dare question the “science” or you will be labeled a denier and a kook, swallow it whole without question. There isn’t enough middle ground to merely point out, without making any claim as to the “science” that this debate is not honest.  

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/06/does-noaas-national-climatic-data-center-ncdc-keep-two-separate-sets-of-climate-books-for-the-usa/

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      Let us not quibble over the analysis. The website may have a point, but, indicts itself with the commentary “suitable only for government workers.” Childish commentary like that indicates an agenda and undermines serious discussion.

      Regardless, the ice caps are melting, ancient glaciers vanishing, 10,000 year old permafrost is melting, sea levels rising, ocean temperatures rising, so, aside from the current drought, are you suggesting that we don’t have an issue?

      There will always be zealots who go overboard, but right now the Mississippi presents a very real problem with very real consequences.

      If you want to get an idea of what is really happening, look at what businesses, insurance companies in particular, are doing. Unlike politicians and ideologues, their bottom line is money, their ideology is profit. Speaking in terms of climate change, I think you’ll find that that captains of industry are prepping their ships for troubled waters.

      • Gregg Smith

        My point is the debate is not honest. It’s easier to get worked up when one believes the false claim that 2012 was the hottest year on record.

        Nothing happening now hasn’t happened many times before.

        • Wahoo_wa

          I’m not sure On Point is really a balanced enough program to discuss issues such as these.  I do remember Tom practically begging a climatologist (shamelessly I might add) to state that the recent hurricanes were a result of climate change.  The answer was a firm “No.”  We need more rational people to present these topics to the public.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            “more rational people”

            lol

          • PithHelmut

            You are correct. OnPoint is not balanced enough as is the case with most media outlets (you do know that David Koch is a board trustee for WGBH and a big MIT funder?) But at least Tom Ashbrook has raised the issue of climate responsibility several times. This issue is so urgent and has such disastrous implications that it should be mentioned at least twice a day per media outlet to give the proper perspective of what we are up against all over the world. I know you’re thinking that anyone who sounds urgent is a nut job but this is where discernment comes in. The convulsions over the theatrical fiscal cliff were mentioned exhaustively and no one felt that was nutty. We have to be kept in a bubble to remain fixated on oil. Imagine if we demanded cheap clean and abundant options which are all around us! Alas, some currently very powerful forces would be rendered rather impotent if that were to happen. But so will the rest of us because we are unprepared. Forget about your retirement or your insurance. The rate of events are on an exponential curve and no one knows when it will get out of hand. We may have a very small window. But we’re bickering rather than planning. A carbon tax and a move to renewable energies are our only hope.

        • MassAve

          You are correct, it has happened before in earth’s history. When they make claims of “hottest” they are referring to “on record” meaning when we in this country started keeping official records on these things.

          Bear in mind that “this time” we have massive economies and populations based in places where they weren’t the last time this cycle occured.

        • Don_B1

          YOUR side of the “debate” is totally dishonest, so I suppose you have a point there.

          WattsUpWithThat has not ever said ANYTHING that was not shown conclusively to be a gross distortion or outright falsehood on climate science. He does not know the meaning of the term science, and uses the average citizen’s innumeracy to hornswoggle them. He is a great con man.

          Watts has so often been roundly debunked for “just making things up” that a lot of climate scientists have stopped posting debunkings as they only give him more publicity. But Watts gets paid for his efforts, and scientists have better things to do that the equivalent of showing a felon is still a felon.

          But see Skeptical Science for the full climate story and the truth about the warming Earth:

          http://www.skepticalscience.com/16_more_years_of_global_warming.html

          Of course Gregg does NOT have the intellectual integrity, not to mention honesty, to actually read any of the science and, point-by-point agree or argue his false claims. What a sham he is!

          • Gregg Smith

            All of his data can be independently verified by the links he provides from the sources cooking the numbers. Do you have the intellectual integrity to do so?

          • Don_B1

            Have you EVER gone to one of his “source” links which he claims is “cooking the numbers”?

            Every time I have I find that it is Watts that outrageously misinterprets what he finds there and, on a few occasions, even makes up things not in the source material.

            But Watts’ site is a great place for deniers because they can cite it as proof of their false claims and rely on the general public to not take the time to investigate to the end of a chain of links.

            Why don’t YOU show me those links where the “data is cooked” instead of pointing at a site where other pointers go down a long trail, constructed to obfuscate the truth? Then YOU can show us all just how the numbers were cooked, not just say that they were.

            My supposition, based on your past performance, is that not doing so serves your purpose.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, I won’t. It’s all there for you but there are many links and even more links within the links. Debunk away.

          • Don_B1

            Just don’t want to expose yourself to the truth.

          • PithHelmut

            It stands to reason that if we’re putting copious amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, augmented by methane which is now being released in the Arctic (and a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2) while we’re removing the sequesters of carbon dioxide, namely trees, there is going to be a problem. What you are doing is trying to give a “balanced” argument where it is totally inappropriate to do so. Similar to the argument that lung cancer occurs naturally therefore to say smoking is a greater contributer has no merit. That’s what we used to be told by the tobacco companies. Guess who’s trying to convince us now that there’s nothing to worry about with the climate, well not until the end of the century at least. This is part of the strategy to keep us using fossil fuel. No mention of what it will be like leading up to the turn of the century. It’s not as if it is simply going to be normal and suddenly everything will change at 2100.

          • Gregg Smith

            Of course it’s going to be problem, who said otherwise? Not me but I knew this would happen.

            “And don’t dare question the ‘science’ or you will be labeled a denier and a kook, swallow it whole without question.”

          • Don_B1

            Nobody, particularly scientists, are asking anyone to “swallow it whole without question.”

            But you make claims and then refuse to answer our questions! And you refuse to look at real data that show Climate Change is real and will be calamitous for the human race, more deadly that the sum of all wars humans have fought over the last 250,000 years.

          • PithHelmut

            One doesn’t need to read that drivel. You can tell from the title what their shtick is. The right has redefined the language so that rape means something else, as does Maverick and skeptic. 

        • jefe68

          You sir lack any credibility, so your mentioning of this debate being dishonest is a joke.   

          • Gregg Smith

            Do you believe 2012 was the hottest year on record?

          • Don_B1

            For the United States, which began recording temperatures about 1895, 2012 had the hottest average temperature ever recorded in that way.

            For the entire Earth, the average temperature will be somewhere around sixth to eighth or so hottest.

            Almost every mainstream media (even Fox? — I haven’t checked) is reporting this.

          • Gregg Smith

            I understand that’s the claim, probably on Fox too. That’s why I’m here.

          • Gregg Smith

            “…in that way”

            Do you acknowledge that the heat wave of the 30′s would have produced different numbers if it was measured with the new stations that have been added since?

          • Don_B1

            NO! And Richard Muller’s BEST program to originally advertised as a way to show the errors in recorded temperatures, showed just the opposite, that the temperature claims of climate scientists were even more accurate than they had claimed!

            ________
            P.S.: Muller’s study was partly funded by the Koch Brothers.

        • PithHelmut

          We should be worked up. I guess you’ll wait until it’s on your own doorstep. Let it be…

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m hoping for a warm January day tomorrow. I’m going fishing.

          • Don_B1

            I hope your target fish is a warm-water-liking fish.

            Mountain trout are disappearing from the upper Missouri River and its tributaries, e.g.,Platte, etc., because the those streams are warming due to climate change.

    • jefe68

      You posted a link to a blog that blames the Holocaust on gun confiscation in Jewish neighborhoods. Are f’n kidding me?  

      Do you really expect people to take you seriously?

      • Gregg Smith

        Shoot the messenger, ignore the data.

        • Don_B1

          @jefe68:disqus 
          When a messenger consistently sends wrong data, any and all data from that source has to be regarded as false until it can be verified from other certified verifiable sources.That is why people buy McAfee and Norton website protection programs.This site needs such a program for your posts.

          • Gregg Smith

            You aren’t going to refute the data or the methods are you.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Sure, some righty blogs on the one hand, every national academy of science on the other.  Just a difference of opinion. Meanwhile, the long-sought Northwest passage is opening.  I know that the right is anti-science, but this is ridiculous.

      Sorry, but pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at the rate we’re doing it has consequences. Physics doesn’t care how many $ the Kochs put into propaganda. 

      • Gregg Smith

        The data came from NOAA’s NCDC.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          ….and every national academy knows that humans are changing the climate.

          There are no data that show the absence of man-made global warming. You’re not interested in data, you’re interested in justifying your beliefs. What you guys do is pick over the data and look for something  to make a blog post throwing out all the science, even if it’s just the normal way that science progresses. Sorry, the data show that we’re heating up the planet. It’s no surprise, giving the amount of CO2 we’re producing. I know you have a blog that says not to worry about that, too. Physics won’t read it.

          • Gregg Smith

            Do you believe 2012 was the hottest year on record?

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I haven’t studied it enough to say, but it doesn’t have to be for the trend to be alarming.

            I know typical denier behavior would be to say some headline said it was hottest but it was really only second hottest so James Hansen is an idiot. 

          • Gregg Smith

            If they used the same measuring stations, without adding new ones, it doesn’t crack the top 10. That data is still available. It’s dishonest to note make that caveat. 

        • Don_B1

          But only through intermediaries who cherry-picked it to make it seem to be “cooked,” and totally distorted the “interpretation.”

  • Wahoo_wa

    Instead of calling it “climate change” I wonder if we can start calling it “climate re-balance”?  Nature has a remarkable ability to return to equilibrium.  Man, as part of nature, is part of that equation.  The current ecological movement (certainly not the first in human history) is an example of how nature works to achieve balance.  I believe I saw a diagram of record high temperatures in the U.S.  There were also record lows in the U.S. (and elsewhere…India is experiencing such record lows now).  Here’s a reference for those record lows:  http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/weather/weather_news/Not-all-hot-Record-low-temperatures-keep-some-across-US-on-the-chilly-side

    • Wahoo_wa

      And isn’t Chicago having snow after 72 years without snow?

      • Ray in VT

        No.  The 1971-2000 average was 38 inches, and they have 1.3 inches so far this winter.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/chicago-snowfall-record_n_2426743.html

        • Wahoo_wa

          My total mistake…I misheard a brief news announcement.  Sorry.

          • Ray in VT

            No problem.  I had to go back and read the article again to make sure that I had originally read it right. It didn’t sound right, given where Chicago is geographically, but I didn’t know for sure until I checked the numbers.

        • Gregg Smith

          And 14,000 years ago Chicago was under a glacier. I’m not sure what it means.

          • Ray in VT

            That substantial changes in climate happen over time, although the current evidence points to a very rapid change in climate, in some way influenced by human activities.

            So, I see that you spent no time today in bringing out the climate change conspiracy theories, Gregg. 

            Tell me, based upon the comments heading up the page today and the credentials of the panel, was there any particular reason that you felt the need to spread your views regarding the vast conspiracy that is climate science.  I mean, why bother?

            I thought about saying something, but considering that in the past you said that you basically believed man made climate change to be a conspiracy perpetrated by scientists globally and launched into today with calling the NCDC liars who have cooked the numbers, I figured why bother.  There seems to be no room for debate with you regarding this topic, so I refrained.

          • Gregg Smith

            For the same reason you cite (Why bother?) I stuck to my main argument that the debate is not honest. That has always been my position and I have never said man has no affect on climate. I have never said, basically or otherwise, that I “believed man made climate change to be a conspiracy perpetrated by scientists globally”.

            “There isn’t enough middle ground to merely point out, without making any claim as to the “science” that this debate is not honest. “

            But I’ll answer your question, and it’s a good one with a couple of answers, the second of which I didn’t think of until you brought up the panel.

            If you google “2012 hottest year on record” you will get well over 40 million results. It’s the news of the day. The links I posted each give a different reason to suspect the validity of the claim.  The first appears to be a smoking gun but I may be wrong if the author is outright lying which I assume is your charge. Otherwise he makes a compelling case and a perusal of his sources indicates it to be true. I suppose he could have faked the NCDC links and put in his own data… somehow.

            The second link gives a less complicated and more easily understood layman’s explanation that is equally damning to the claim. It does so without suggesting any one lied except possibly by a lie of omission. The argument was made by others as well.

            Regarding the panel, they seem to be engineers and even a Barge company CEO. There’s one professor. There are no climate scientist. That begs the question: Why even bring up climate change? This is bad for industry and even our economy. Why not focus on those aspects? Maybe they will, I’ll listen tonight but this page focuses on climate change. This page also claims that 2012 was the hottest year on record.

          • Ray in VT

            So then, if it is not some sort of conspiracy by scientists, and perhaps others, on a global level, then who has cooked the NCDC numbers, perpetrated the fraud that you claim the IPCC to be and generally spread the “doom and gloom” against which you occasionally rail, then what is it?

            I also do not believe the debate to be honest.  There are some dissenting scientists, with varying degrees of credibility, and what seems to be a very concerted effort by industry groups and think tanks with interests in various potentially affected industries, to deny and discredit a very great amount of reputable research that has been done on this topic.

            As to the Watts article, I am disinclined to trust him to best interpret the data that NOAA and the NCDC use and collect.  For them to be putting out such overtly faulty and disingenuous information, that would require the complicity of the scientists there as another part of an elaborate plan to distort the information.  One would not only have to believe in such a situation, but that they would also be incompetent enough to then put the real data out on their own site.  I view it a bit like the Obama birth certificate forgery believes.  It requires that such a vast conspiracy to also be utterly incompetent enough to overlook such important details.

            Why bring up climate change you ask?  Because it’s real and it’s happening.  They were mostly talking about impacts on the show.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t get the all or none thinking.The climate is changing and maybe man has a say in it. That does not mean there isn’t a huge amount of over-hyping, dooming and glooming by various entities. The 2 views are totally compatible.

            Don’t trust Watts, fine. Don’t look at his evidence and tacitly accuse him of faking it, fine. I don’t know how you do that as well as it’s documented by the NCDC but cool. Throw it all out. I know you have said you dismiss certain people out of hand and refuse (your word) to consider views of some people. Fine.

            I gave two links. Even DonB1 rephrased the wording of the claim to include the words “in that way”. Do you believe the claim that 2012 was the hottest year on record should be repeated without making clear the methods were far different than in the past? Do you think the fact that using the same number of measuring stations as in the 30′s shows 2012 was not in the top 10 of hottest years to be irrelevant? 

          • Gregg Smith

            Maybe these are stupid questions:

            Can there be a drought in cool weather?Can there be floods in hot weather?Did anyone on the show make the  scientific connection between the drought and temperature?… not that there were any scientist on the show.

          • Ray in VT

            Considering the short list of scientists whose research you back, and their likelihood of being on this show, why even bother asking your last question.  I am willing to bet that you would merely discount them as welll.

          • Gregg Smith

            We’ll just assume the connection.

          • Ray in VT

            There may certainly be a certain amount of overhyping, but, then again, perhaps it is justified based upon what those who are studying it are seeing.  It is also true that there is a very great amount of denial and downplaying of the issue.  I certainly think that it is likely to be both.  That some may have been naturally occurring, as has certainly happened historically, and that our activities are goosing the process.

            I looked at the site some, both today and previously, and I am skeptical about it.  I will leave it up to professionals who know way more about this than either of us to judge the validity of Watts’ work in the peer reviewed literature, and it appears that up to this point, his work, like that of Richard Lindzen, have not been judged up to snuff.  I’m skeptical of his connections to the Heartland Institute as well.

            I do discount the work of some people out of hand, although I do try to keep that confined to my areas of expertise.  I think that there are some legitimate questions that should be asked about methods and practices for all scientific endeavors, but I will not trust the judgement of the public on the open web or those connected with groups whose ideological affiliations makes them highly questionable.

          • Gregg Smith

            So, we’ll just compare apples and oranges regarding heat records. 
            Okay.

          • DrewInGeorgia
          • Gregg Smith

            Thans for posting the interesting link. I agree with the part about personal insults slung around. I always try to avoid that. But boy I sure do catch it. No one has refuted my cited numbers.

            “You’re not interested in data, you’re interested in justifying your beliefs.”

            “Are f’n kidding me? Do you really expect people to take you seriously?”

            “That is why people buy McAfee and Norton website protection programs.This site needs such a program for your posts.”

            “You sir lack any credibility, so your mentioning of this debate being dishonest is a joke.”

            “Of course Gregg does NOT have the intellectual integrity, not to mention honesty, to actually read any of the science and, point-by-point agree or argue his false claims. What a sham he is!”

          • DrewInGeorgia

            Note that none of those statements were mine. I just thought it was an appropriate and interesting read so I posted it.

          • Gregg Smith

            Oh yes, I noticed.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            “No one has refuted ‘your numbers’”? Come on! The “numbers” say the planet is warming due to human activity. All you do is repost some nitpicking of the numbers, perhaps making a scandal out of the normal infighting of scientists, and say that refutes the whole case. Meanwhile all that happens is that the case for warming caused by human activity gets stronger over time.

      • jefe68

        No, it snows in the winter in Chicago.
        Where did you get this information from?
         

        • Wahoo_wa

          My fault…I totally misread a brief news announcement.  You are absolutely right.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I’m wondering what kind of person can buy into the idea of the headline “No snow in Chicago for seven decades” on the internet someplace.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Record highs and record lows go together. Global warming does not mean that every temperature moves up a bit. It means the average moves up accompanied by greater swings in both directions.

      In this matter there is the science on the one hand, and the anti-gvt types acting as pawns of the fossil fuel industry on the other. I don’t want a policy based on false equivalence.

      As for “re-balance”, I’m sure the Kochs wd love it, almost as good as “entitlement reform” for cutting SS and medicare. A primo talking point here is that us little humans can’t have too much impact on mother earth. Sorry, but the global industrial machine is producing so much CO2 that nothing is going to re-balance. A driven system doesn’t re-balance, until the driving force is eliminated.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        A drought on the Mississippi and a flood in Massachusetts cancel out to “average”, by some folks’ estimation.

      • Wahoo_wa

        Climate re-balancing is not a political event.  Dealing with it is perhaps….but not the event itself.  Although the topic does bring out the fringe, and their faulty logic (and histrionics), such as TF.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          Fringe? Histrionics?

          Let’s see, who’s more political and fringe on this, the Koch bros, or someone at a keyboard somewhere in the suburbs.

          You really need to pick your “fringe” better.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Be gone troll.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Can’t imagine what you’d do confronted with a real troll.

          • Gregg Smith

            Can I offer some assistance?

        • TomK_in_Boston

          I’m referring to the terminology. It sounds like standard righty “framing” of using nice words to describe a bad thing. And a driven system doesn’t re-balance, it keeps following the driving force till it stops.

          • Wahoo_wa

            But that’s the point and that’s why “Re-Balancing” is far more accurate than just “Climate Change”.  Climate will swing back and forth and continually re-balance as a process. The climate will never “stop” as you suggest.  It will react to the driving force and then react to the next driving force.  …and beside the fringe has already backed off the term “Global Warming” in favor of “Climate Change.”

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I said it would “stop” reacting to our driving it with additional CO2 when we stopped, not that all natural swings would stop.

            The right has not “backed off” by switching to “climate change”. That’s supposed to sound more benign and natural than “global warming”. Now you propose a term that sounds even nicer. Your suggestion is right in the spirit of calling cuts to SS and medicare “entitlement reform”.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Well this discussion is not about SS reform and medicare…I don’t really see the correlation unless it is meant to be a provocative troll comment.  And it has been BOTH the right and the left that have adopted climate change as the fad word since record low temperatures called into question (albeit semantically) the term “global warming.”

          • TomK_in_Boston

            It’s about your terminology. Calling global warming produced by our use of fossil fuels “rebalancing” is just like calling cuts in the safety net “reform”. It’s a very powerful propaganda technique.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I agree to some extent but I think most well educated people can cut through the propaganda on both sides of the debate and see the middle ground….or at least I hope they can.  As a “man is part of nature” guy I do see nature re-balancing the climate.

          • Don_B1

            But if CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels don’t stop soon, they will stop when there are no humans running a civilization that needs that type of energy.

            Without government action that will come before the $12 trillion of fossil fuels are extracted, but not before humans are living more like the Plains Indians but in a desert or the primitive tribes in the Amazon jungle (cannibals without the jungle) or in Borneo.

            The costs of insurance to keep replacing homes from storm disasters and the exponentially rising cost of food will turn everyone into paupers and turned against their neighbors until migration, starvation and violence have reduced the population by maybe half or more.

            The violence will have largely destroyed the current infrastructure, or that part of it that has not been submerged by up to 200 feet of sea level rise. Look up how much of the current 7 billion people currently live below 200 feet of sea level.

            Your current lifestyle (assuming you currently live in the U.S.) will just not be available.

            That climate will not reverse toward the current climate, if ever, until the CO2 emitted has been drawn down through geological events that will take well over a thousand years.

            The seas will have little life left, just as happened in at least one of the last two (of four) great extinctions, 65 million and some 240 million years ago.

          • Wahoo_wa

            And yet we are here.  …and life will go on.

    • Don_B1

      Most charts show the number of BOTH record highs and record lows. I distrust any source that lists only one type.

      What is important to note is the difference in magnitude between the numbers of record highs and record lows. 

      The data for ratios of daily record highs to lows is given for the 2011-2012 period (up to July 2012) in this post:

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/08/05/641501/july-heat-records-crush-cold-records-historic-heat-wave-and-drought-fuels-oklahoma-fires/

      where the specifics for July 2012 are described in more detail with a year chart as reference.

      But what may be even more stunning is this:

      http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/01/05/1394711/2012-saw-362-all-time-record-high-temperatures-in-us-but-zero-all-time-record-lows/

      which is for the number of record high and low temperatures, period, not tied to any date.

      Note: 362 to 0 !!

      • Wahoo_wa

        Understood…but is this a real issue?  It is a real issue regarding adjusting our way of life but that opens up innovation and adaptation.  Is change so bad?  I don’t have an answer…just throwing it out as a discussion point.

        • hennorama

          Wahoo_wa – ask durum wheat farmers in eastern North Dakota about “innovation and adaptation” and whether change is “so bad.”

          An excerpt from a recent Newsweek article titled “The End of Pasta – Temperatures are rising. Rainfalls are shifting. Droughts are intensifying. What will we eat when wheat won’t grow?”

          “Durum used to be grown throughout North Dakota, but over the past 30 to 40 years, the growing zone has shifted farther west as weather conditions have changed. “Rainfall patterns have shifted,” explains Professor Manthey. “It’s become too wet in eastern North Dakota for durum.”

          They can’t just pick up their land and move it north or west to follow changing weather patterns.  See the map below for 2006 ND durum production levels by county.

          See:http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/12/09/bakken-oil-boom-and-climate-change-threaten-the-future-of-pasta.html

          http://www.business.nd.gov/uploads/resources/199/wheat.jpg

          • Wahoo_wa

            “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be….” Isaac Asimov

          • Gregg Smith

            “You can’t rollerskate in a Buffalo herd” – Roger Miller

          • Wahoo_wa

            “If God had intended us to walk he wouldn’t have invented roller skates.” Willy Wonka

          • Gregg Smith

            “What if you were in Florida without your furs and there is a very quick little ice age?” -Miss Piggy

          • Wahoo_wa

            Oooo gurlfrien…preach sista!

          • hennorama

            Wahoo_wa – your argument seems to be “Things always change – don’t worry about it – it’ll all work out just fine because it’s always worked out just fine.  Please correct me if I’ve mischaracterized your argument.

            You say “Nature has a remarkable ability to return to equilibrium. Man, as part of nature, is part of that equation.”  The problem with your idea is that man’s impacts are distorting the “equilibrium.”  When one is discussing the primary greenhouse gas – CO2 – atmospheric concentrations have not been this high for hundreds of thousands of years.  Are you suggesting that we return to the “equilibrium” of that time period?

            Using your “rebalancing” trope – imagine CO2 concentration as a walkway, and you’re walking along it.  As it rises, you have to continually “rebalance” or you’ll fall.  When it rises at a faster and faster pace, this “rebalancing” becomes more and more difficult to accomplish.  Anyone who has seen the An Inconvenient Truth is familiar with the atmospheric CO2 chart of the Keeling Curve.  Here’s an animated version of “Time history of atmospheric carbon dioxide from 800,000 years ago until January, 2011.”

            http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html

          • Wahoo_wa

            “more and more difficult to balance”…. perhaps…but not impossible.

        • Don_B1

          What makes something a “real” issue?

          1) Temperature is one of the prime measures of climate (Wikipedia definition: “the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods. Climate can be contrasted to weather, which is the present condition of these elements and their variations over shorter periods.”) therefore it is an issue when climate impacts the ability of the residents of the area to continue to live there.

          2) When climate change is world-wide, and has severe affects on the growth of food (the four major crops, corn, wheat, rye and  soy will likely suffer 10% to 20% reduction is productivity due to warmer, drier conditions where it is grown.

          3) When areas like those north of the American great plains do not, repeat do not, have the rich soil structure of the American plains which took millennia to develop from generations of wild grasses and buffalo interacting to enrich the soil, there are no easy places to move crop production to.

          4) When millions of people living in areas of the world subject to seal level rises or crop losses find that they can no longer feed ans shelter themselves in their current locations, do we really expect them to just roll over docilely and die? They will try to move to places where they can find a living, no matter what the current occupants of that place think of their intrusion. This will cause violence on a scale not seen in recent times, Darfur and other African conflicts not withstanding.

          These are not issues? Just what Earth are you living on?

          It is the kind of change that is really bad unless you think that the human race should go extinct soon. If that is the case, those that think that way have the ability to stop bothering those of us who wish a different result.

    • PithHelmut

      Call it global heating, it doesn’t matter what we call it. Our lack of recognizing the danger and the urgency is what led us to this point. Understand that climate change (or whatever you want to call it) could spell the end of our species as well as many others. If we can’t figure out how to conquer this enormous problem then that’s probably not a bad thing.

  • RolloMartins

    It’s a vast left-wing conspiracy.

    • Wahoo_wa

      I fear that political posturing has shut down a more productive dialogue.  Instead of focusing conversations on the middle ground, topics like this have polarized people into two camps that are vigorously defended (all too vigorously perhaps?) at the risk of missing the potential reality that the truth is somewhere in the middle.  The result is that data is skewed by both camps in order to make their respective point.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Won’t somebody think of The Middle?

        Eh, when one side stops moving the goalposts, I’ll care about “the middle”.

        • Wahoo_wa

          Life is not black and white.  Goal posts move.  You sound like a “flat earther.”

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Warping the political narrativizing, or “moving the goalposts”, is something the right specializes in scaring ignorants about, and our mainstream media is helpless to be skeptical about.

            To quote Cokie Roberts (or is it Peggy Noonan?), “We have to cover that side of it. It’s out there.”

            And she ain’t talking about scientists.

          • Wahoo_wa

            I don’t think “warping the political narrativizing” is a purview reserved solely for, and used solely by the right wing.  Sorry.  Even scientist , who themselves are human with political interests, are wise to question everything.

      • PithHelmut

        No. You are wrong. One side is totally wrong and this kind of logic, a false equivalence is just a cop-out for lazy thinking and it endangers everyone. Yourself included. Grow some. Here’s a video about the carbon cycle: http://www.kidsnewsroom.org/climatechange/carbon_cycle_version2.html 

        • Wahoo_wa

          It is your right to be a dooms-dayer but I will certainly not follow you.

    • jefe68

      Quick, lock up your children and hide your ammo!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      You should’ve added some snark marks, though it’s cool that your comment works both ways.

      ;’)

      • Gregg Smith

        I agree, you and I rarely “like” the same comments and TF and I NEVER do. I’m chuckling.

    • Don_B1

      I read your sarcasm!

      Others don’t seem to; they can be very literal when it suits their purpose.

    • PithHelmut

      Oh if only the left were so influential, they would have removed Mitch McConnell by now.

  • andreawilder

    When I camped with my family in Glacier National Park in
    1959 we saw glaciers.  They are predicted to disappear by
    2020.  What will the US ultimately do for water?  Albuquerque 
    draws water from its pre-historic aquifer, can’t be replaced.

    • Acnestes

       A few years ago I was hiking in the Canadian Rockies to the Saskatchewan Glacier.  The first part of the hike was along an abandoned road built by the US Army during WWII – they would take their new cold weather gear out onto the glacier for testing.  When built, the road went right to the toe of the glacier.  The toe of the glacier is now over a kilometer away, having retreated back up the valley.  And that’s only since the 1940′s.

      • andreawilder

        This is a global disaster.  We can never go back.
        Where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?
        ["The Wilderness Warrior"]

        • PithHelmut

          We don’t need Teddy or anyone. We have to do it ourselves. Our laziness and laxness is what caused it, our comfort with fossil fuel energy. Holding stocks in fossil fuel companies is a major way of keeping ourselves tied to the continuation of the harm. 

    • hennorama

      andreawilder – check out the work of James Balog and the Extreme Ice Survey.  He has an amazing book out right now called “ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers” with images of glaciers.  There’s also a film about his work “Chasing Ice” which is currently in limited release.  I’ve already saved it in my Netflix queue.

      NPR’s Talk of the Nation did a recent show on Balog and his work:
      http://www.npr.org/2012/11/30/166248519/-glacier-photographer-james-balog-on-chasing-ice
      See also:http://extremeicesurvey.org/

  • Gregg Smith

    It wasn’t even 2 years ago and everybody was freaking about the Mississippi floods. Of course that was AGW too. 

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/12/mississippi-river-flooding-photos-2011_n_861204.html

    • Prairie_W

      Gregg:  That argument doesn’t work.

      If you look at the actual predictions, they’re about freak weather, not about an orderly decline with an inch-a-year drop of water level on the Mississippi or an inch-a-year rise in ocean waters.  It’s about normal hurricanes turning into unusually damaging storms, hitting in new places, being unpredictable.  It’s about floods followed by droughts followed by floods, as we now experience in TX. It’s about 90 degrees on New Year’s day this year and a plunge into extreme cold the following year.  It’s about old patterns of unexpected weather becoming new patterns of increasingly violent and damaging weather.

      Don’t just look at the Mississippi’s problems; look at what they’re doing to a significant part of our economy — money we won’t have to help fix things in a changed world if that world changes as much and as quickly as predicted. 

      • Gregg Smith

        I’m not making an argument, I’m adding perspective.

        Hurricanes are not any more violent than ever. They are not more unpredictable. “Damaging” is relative to what there is to damage. It’s like the tree falling in the woods thing.
        The biggest Mississippi River drought on record happened in 1956. 

        • PithHelmut

          Gregg all these effects are more frequent and not just happening in the US but all over the world. What do you think will happen when the Arctic ice has melted by 75% already?  When I was a kid it was all there but in less than a lifetime, it will be gone by 2020. The scientists if anything have under-estimated the effects.

        • Don_B1

          @PithHelmut:disqus @google-327b60c55221432e499267aebfb70c09:disqus 

          So far, fortunately, the number of hurricanes seem unaffected by Climate Change. The number does vary from year to year with the variations of the Southern Oscillation which is the coupling of high and low air pressure in the western tropical Pacific Ocean with corresponding warm (El Niño) and cool (La Niña) eastern tropical Pacific water temperatures.

          But the STRENGTH of hurricanes is increasing, though not necessarily in a linear fashion. The sources of strength are the warmer ocean water that provides the energy for the hurricane formation, while upper level winds (Jet streams) can cut off the tops of the hurricane depriving it of the energy and circulating winds’ speed that it is building.

          The strength of Hurricane Sandy was due to its passage over abnormally warm Gulf Stream (some 7° above “normal” for that time of year) and the presence of a “blocking high” over Greenland which steered Sandy west so that it combined with a big storm moving across the U.S. from the West Coast to form a “super Nor’easter/Hurricane some 1000 miles in diameter.

          Other than a storm that tracked from east of Bermuda in 1903 that was not as strong or the sea levels were also not as high, there have not been such storms until recently. But the same conditions created a similar storm with Hurricane Irene in 2011, except that it went just around 50 miles to the east and thus did not cause the same damage to New Jersey and lower New York as Sandy. But that says that two storms in two years were capable of creating  devastating destruction.

          Welcome to the future of climate disasters!

          • Gregg Smith

            I do not want to imply that Hurricane Sandy was not devastating to many lives. It was.

            If you had written “size” instead of “Strength” and then connected the dots of relevance then… maybe. But you didn’t.

            Hurricane Sandy never got above category 2. When it hit NJ it wasn’t even a hurricane.

            Hurricane “Dog” in 1950 maintained category 5 status for 60 hours. Hurricane “Cuba” in 1932 did it for 78 hours. I think that’s the strongest on record. Of course, who knows what happened a billion years ago. 

            Your argument makes no sense.

  • andreawilder

    On the Mississippi flooding is normal, check historical accounts.
    Sediment created the conditions for flat rich farmlands & the land was settled.[Sediment created the delta and the oxbow-like meander on which New Orleans is perched. ]

    • PithHelmut

      Climate scientists have always said that extreme effects will happen with more frequency not that those conditions haven’t happened before. We are causing these changes because we are taking ancient CO2 from its rightful place in its burial ground and pumping it into our own living atmosphere. The atmosphere is like a closed loop, like a large terrarium if you will, and is properly balanced although it can also cope with major imbalances.  But we’re not giving the environment a chance to recover. We cut down its lungs (the trees) and inject higher and higher amounts of polluting carbon. What do you think will happen with such abuse? One does not need to be a scientist to recognize it is totally aberrant logic. Water is the scarcest essential but now fracking threatens that. Add another onslaught like there aren’t enough. Yet free and abundant energy is all around us (solar, wind, tidal, hydro, geothermal etc) But there is no profit in that. Yet people continue to look to their leaders for direction even if they are taking us over the precipice. We’re not going to make it now unless we do it together. 

      • Wahoo_wa

        What about the fact that increased CO2 levels promote plant growth which, in turn, could possibly counteract the deforestation of the earth and thus continue the process of re-balancing the climate?  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs004420000544?LI=true

        • Ray in VT

          That is a good point, and that might be somewhat more effective in a vacuum, but is at least some of that potential growth being offset by desertification and deforestation that is being caused by human activity in places like the Amazon and sub-Saharan Africa?

          • Wahoo_wa

            Not sure about the Amazon and sub Sahara Africa actually.  I can give you a small example here in New England of native forest regeneration.  The native population decimated the ecology of the islands and shores of RI.  They clear cut trees for agriculture and building materials so much so that some of the islands that were traditionally occupied were abandoned.  This is the documented condition the European settlers found when they arrived in RI.  The forests of RI have largely increased despite colonization and development up to contemporary time (certainly NOT a vacuum).  The same is true for Connecticut including a part of Norwich I grew up in called East Great Plains  (no plains for miles now).  Many parts of New England that have been farmed have reverted back to forest.  It’s a precedent that many people travel through daily but do not recognize or appreciate.  It’s a good example of nature (including man as the European settlers began planting trees because they needed the firewood and raw building materials) re-balancing the environment.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Read Changes in the Land.  It’s one of the books on my areas of study (Ornamental Horticulture and Environmental Design) in college.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT & Wahoo_wa – NOAA and its partners have studied this.  Here’s the headline:

            “NOAA, partners: Earth’s oceans and ecosystems still absorbing about half the greenhouse gases emitted by people”

            ABOUT HALF.  Here’s a link to the article, and an illustration showing how CO2 due to human activities continues to accumulate in the atmosphere:

            http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20120801_esrlcarbonstudy.html

            http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/images/co2sinksgraphalone.jpg

    • Don_B1

      All true, but as I think you meant, floods and droughts can be at the extremes more often than they used to be.

      With Climate Change, the Mississippi River (and others, notably the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota) will see extreme conditions more often, with 100-year floods every 50 years, then every 10 years, with extreme drought periods between them.

      Just like rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, rebuilding after river floods needs to be done with respect to the fact that the floods are going to recur frequently.

      I hope I am interpreting your post correctly. But on this site when you leave an opening, there are a lot of climate change deniers just waiting to jump in with their distortions and worse.

      Check out my earlier post on the increasing ratio of high to low temperature records. If there were no warming one would expect that ratio to fluctuate around 1, which it pretty much did before 1920.

  • Wahoo_wa

    The “fertile ground” in this piece seems to be “how do we deal with a climate that is re-balancing and producing effects that challenge our current way of life?”  I hope it doesn’t get into a pissing contest about “is there climate change?” and an empty discussion about people’s political affiliation.

    • Steve_the_Repoman
      • Wahoo_wa

        I’ve been meaning to get that book to see what ol’ Billy boy has been up to recently.  McDonough was Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia when I was there earning my graduate degree in Landscape Architecture.

        • Wahoo_wa

          He used to parade around in this RIDICULOUS green cape….much to the amusement, and dare I say derision, of/by students, faculty and staff. Architects and their enormous egos! LOL

          • Ray in VT

            Come on, you gotta love a guy with a cape!  That’s pretty hilarious.

          • Wahoo_wa

            It was a little off-putting and made him hard to take seriously.

          • Ray in VT

            I can only imagine.  Perhaps he’s a superhero, even if only in his own mind.  One of my friends used to have a cape, but he only used it for LARPing.

          • Steve_the_Repoman

            former boss:

            …”out of the way swine, architect coming through”….

          • Wahoo_wa

            Very true to the stereotype (and my experience)…LOL

        • Steve_the_Repoman

          He speaks of a “third way” – that values both environmental/ecological (climatic)/economic concerns.

          Suggests a paradigm of design that bridges the gap.

          favorite paraphrased quote…

          “….congratulations, you have done the minimum…”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    “Where the water needs to go”.

    Tangent: Who will be the first to tell the desert West that they are full? I mean, at some point every civilzation bumps up against its limiting factor. We’re seeing enough fights west of the 100deg longitude between farming, ranching, industry and residencies already.

    (To wit: That Biosphere thing was a great demonstration of how big a place needs to be to create enough oxygen and provide enough food for anywhere near the number of human beings expected to live in it.)

  • andreawilder

    Many people seem to have the idea that it is possible to “negotiate” climate change.  It isn’t.  We are nothing in relation to the forces we have unleashed.  The forces themselves are 
    amoral.

    • DrewInGeorgia

      We are amoral.
      “the forces we have unleashed”?
      Not so much.

      • andreawilder

        moral, immoral, amoral.

        amoral = without conscience.
        Natural forces just…are.
        CO2 has no conscience.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Now I understand your meaning. Assigning Forces of Nature individual consciousness just seems a bit odd to me.

          • andreawilder

            Yes, I thought I should clarify.  Hike inside the caldera of an ancient volcano and we are as puny as
            a gnat’s eyelash.  Hold volcanic ash in your hand…450 million years ago?

        • PithHelmut

          Natural forces are indifferent to our morals.

          • andreawilder

            You bet.

  • NDGaudreau

    How much of the work is funded by taxpayers?  I am wondering how maintaining the river compares to railroad and highway maintenance.

  • Wahoo_wa

    “Naturally occurring events”…Tom, if you believe man has caused climate change, and man is CLEARLY part of nature, then it stands to reason that you would believe climate change is natural….no?  If not, the man versus nature perspective is a horribly egotistical approach to the issue.

  • PithHelmut

    It’s funny that every “expert” who speaks on environmental effects like droughts, floods, etc, they are moderated by the disclaimer: “We cannot be sure that this is attributable to climate change”.  Yet one attack on our soil and for over a decade we’ve installed surveillance cameras, instigated drone warfare, engaged in torture, held supposed offenders without trial and changed our whole way of life. The effects to the climate were predicted many decades ago. The climate deniers can’t claim anything like that despite their deflections of explaining it with sun flares or whatever. While we keep with the denial two things will happen: we’re not going to make the necessary changes (unless of course a major disaster hits NY again or DC or kills millions of (white) people) and the fossil fuel companies are going to be licking their chops (although not completely without vigilance over the campaign to brainwash us of their product being not responsible for this devastation and the associated costs).

  • andreawilder

    People seem to think short term, that is part of our nature. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Cyndi-Armstrong/704124574 Cyndi Armstrong

    I lived in MN during the low river in 88.  No one was screaming about global warming and no one was panicked about moving barges.  It was seen as a “bad” year and we had a “large picture” view of it.  When did we lose our common sense?  The 100yr flood hits and people act like it’s never happened before.  It’s been 25yrs since the river has been so low and an entire industry wants us to believe that this will be an annual issue.  

    Get a grip people!  The river doesn’t need us to “fix” it.  How much life is destroyed by not letting the river run low?  I’d love to hear from some marine biologists or an expert on trees or plant life along the river banks.

    • andreawilder

      I’ve got a grip.  I’ve been very worried about climate change for many years.  The low water is not an isolated event–we have many other data points that point to catastrophe:  warmer ocean, larger storms and more of them, the northern advance of tree destroying bugs
      [wooly adelgid] that used to be killed by a temps under
      32 degrees for a substantial part of the winter, timbering that clear-cuts CO2 absorbing forests, etc.

    • Wahoo_wa

      I believe almost the entire length of the Mississippi has already been re-engineered by nature in the guise of the Army Corps of Engineers.

      • andreawilder

        Yes, and almost destroyed New Orleans.

        • Wahoo_wa

          Exactly my point….it’s dangerous when’s man’s ego tries to “fix” things.

    • hennorama

      Cyndi – your question “When did we lose our common sense?” brings a three word phrase to mind – common sense isn’t.

    • William

       Good points!

    • PithHelmut

      “Bad years” are happening with much greater frequency now and in all corners of the world. The Arctic will be melted by 2020. All coincidence?

  • Acnestes

    It seems to me that the real motivation behind the most avid climate change deniers is to the desire to avoid having to assume any responsibility (i.e., pony up and god forbid pay their fair share, maybe make some lifestyle changes) for having to clean up the world encompassing cesspool our civilization has created.  Cause, ya’ know, the Constitution doesn’t place any restrictions on our freedom to be irresponsible pigs.  If any state ever needed a nanny, it’s this one.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Yeah, there is that. Also, the faction that wants to return to medieval times obviously hates science, education, etc. But always, follow the money. The fossil fuel industry will spend whatever it takes to protect their profits, and that includes manipulating folks who are very easy to manipulate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    We can argue about what is causing this drought from now till doomsday (hopefully not) and we willl get all sorts of reasons that someone will not agree with. But I don’t think it’s realistic to think that something “just happens”. I believe that anything that happens, happens for a reason. We may not know, or ever know that reason.

    My opinion is that the cause of all of the world’s problems is the human race. If the human race didn’t exist, the world would get on just fine. The laws of nature would take care of everything. The human race has the ability to manipulate nature. Perhaps nature doesn’t like what we do?? And reacts accordingly??

    I’m not suggesting that there should be an effort to eliminate the human race. I believe that, given enough time, nature will do that for us. Indeed, to us.

    If we were smart (history seems to show that we aren’t), we would make a concerted effort, over a long period of time, to reduce the world population. When I was born (1949), the USA population was less than half what it is now. I can’t think of any advantage that was gained by doubling the population. I’m sure that the world’s population probably doubled (perhaps more so) as well. Can you think of any advantage to be gained by continually increasing the world’s population? I’d certainly like to hear even one good reason to do so.

    • andreawilder

      Well, Gary, we have consciousness and the means, so we have the option of reducing our population.  Otherwise we are like all other living things, we grow until the environment can’t support us then we die off….
      to start again.

      • harverdphd

         The option of not f*****g ourselves into oblivion…thanks for pointing that out.

    • PithHelmut

      It’s not a matter of Nature liking this or that. Nature is indifferent.  Humans are a part of Nature but we’re the only ones that can distort its equilibrium which will find balance eventually though it may mean our lives will be forever changed. We can just as easily work with Nature by using biofuels for example, thereby growing much of our energy needs and which balances the carbon dioxide input/output levels at the same time.  We of course have many other clean, renewable and intensive energy sources besides biofuel. We have done very little to employ them. But we can change that too. Not while it is profitable to poison the atmosphere though. 

  • andreawilder

    I am reasonably certain that the Smart Money has accepted the
    science, is 10 jumps ahead and poised to (somehow) make a killing.  

    • harverdphd

       Hence, as you say, “Smart Money”.  Gore himself is poised to make a killing on carbon credits.

      • hennorama

        Assuming you consider Insurance Companies (and re-insurance companies” as part of The Smart Money (which I certainly do).  They aren’t waiting – they acknowledge climate change as a threat to their business.  Here’s are two quotes from a recent forbes.com article:
         
        “With 40 percent of industrial insurance claims that Allianz now pays out being due to natural catastrophes, climate change represents a threat to our business,” Allianz told the Insurance Journal.  (Allianz is a top 3 global insurer).
         
        “We are already vulnerable to the impacts of weather related natural catastrophes. We expect climate change to compound the problems,” Swiss Re Natural Hazards Expert Megan Linkin says on the reinsurer’s web site.  (Swiss Re is a top 3 global re-insurer).
        See:http://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2012/10/11/climate-proofing-the-insurance-industry/
        Also:http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec12/makingsense_11-21.html

  • Shag_Wevera

    We still aren’t ready to do anything about this.

  • andreawilder

    And we poor schlubs watch as the Amazon is turned into mulch,
    Malaysia clear cuts, and the sea  bottom fishing areas are trawled clean.  

  • Kathryn Humiston

    Do deep-well irrigation systems that impact aquifers also have an impact on the Mississippi and other large rivers?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Good question. (I really mean that, given the Ogallala Aquifer’s health and what it means to the ol’ breadbasket.)

      My instinct is that it doesn’t, or doesn’t in any meaningful manner, given where on the map it is.

  • Gregg Smith

    I would have thought it would be good news for everybody that 2012 was not the hottest year on record when using the same methods for comparison, but no. Why? Ya’ll can still preach doom but what is the obsession with the misleading tactics? Science is not biased, methods are methods. When one compares apples to apples you get this:
    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/screenhunter_385-jan-08-21-34.jpg

    2012 was bad, why make it out to be more than it was? Be honest.

    Another thing that bothers me is the assumed correlation. Everyone seems to be assuming AGW is the cause of the drought. I am not an expert and I refuse to google thinking it’s knowledge so maybe someone can put me in my place when I pose the following. Is there a correlation between hot and dry? Isn’t this a dry winter? Doesn’t El Nino cause floods? Isn’t El Nino caused by warming? It seems to me that hot equals floods but today’s argument is hot equals drought. What gives?

    • jefe68

      You have some issues with parsing science son.

      • Gregg Smith

        Why are you so invested in the notion 2012 was the hottest year on record?

        • jefe68

          Why do engage in such inanity?

          I’m not invested in that notion, never said I was. However records were broken in large parts of the nation. It’s notable and you can point to a year hear and there that might be as hot or hotter. However when this kind pattern is happening over period of years even a novice such as myself is inclined to think that all is not well.

          Again, you have issues parsing science.

          In Australia right now they have temperatures in some areas reaching 130 F. Of course this means nothing to you as it’s on the other side of the planet. But them again you seem to be invested in the idea of the earth being flat.

          • Gregg Smith

            On he top of this page it says, “2012 was the hottest year on record in the US”. 

            That’s not true.

    • 1Brett1

      “Everyone seems to be assuming AGW is the cause of the drought…”

      “Everyone…” I guess that means people on this forum, celebrities, and politicians?  Assuming what would be disdainful, liberal hacks whose opinions you don’t respect, low-I.Q. tree-hugging, Hollywood types and sleazy, tell-you-what-you-want-just-to-get-your-vote, inside-the-Beltway-inbreds’ views are actually plausible enough for you to waste your time on after all? Scientists’ science-based opinions, which are much more measured than your characterization of a characterization based on the lowest common denominator parody of a scientific opinion, must not mean anything…yeah, let’s go with your perspective, that makes sense; you sure know how to sell your position (by putting others down for engaging in many of these same tactics). Maybe by “everyone” you actually mean EVERYONE? Everyone but you, of course.

      “…AGW is the cause of the drought…” Another misrepresentation of scientific opinion; it’s like saying, “people seem to be assuming [thinking] bad farming caused the Dust Bowl drought…” No, but it’s easier for you to discount opinions you don’t agree with and argue against them with such tactics….I know, I know, you’re just giving perspective, you haven’t offered any opinions. Yeah, that’s like saying Al Gore (or, as you say: “algore”) is just stating facts, he isn’t playing politics.

      Humans didn’t cause the drought during the decade known in the midwest as “the Dust Bowl.” There were droughts, equaled in that decade of drought, in the 19th century (and those didn’t cause any significant problems). The difference in the 1930s is that the prairie grasses had been destroyed because of over-farming practices which in turn destroyed the topsoil, which in turn turned nature’s drought into a national tragedy. Suffice it to say humans exacerbated the problems caused by the drought. AGW doesn’t cause the weather changes, it just makes them more extreme and volatile.

      But, no, let’s completely dismiss the scientific community because some of their findings have been politicized and fashionably adopted as the cause du jour. Let’s throw all of the scientific evidence out the window because a couple of scientists behaved unprofessionally…let’s instead go with Gregg’s “scientific” observations, lessons in logic, and pseudo-debate acts alone to sway our opinions; that’s a much better approach.  

      • Gregg Smith

        Not one commenter has addressed the different measuring stations as they relate to the “record”. None, join the club. 

        Is there a scientific community that says AGW causes droughts? There were no scientist on the show. I know it sounds like a stupid question. I know the answer is assumed with certainty. I know it is not questioned. But is it true? It seems to be the entire premise for the entire debate. I thought AGW caused hurricanes and floods. 

        Your saying I discounted opinions that disagree with mine when I didn’t even give an opinion on the subject. I actually caused the dust bowl… or something. When you get rolling on the mind reading thing it’s really quite amazing. Look at all that!

        BTW, it’s now “Algore Jazeera”. One has to change with the times.

        • PithHelmut

          Look up climate change on Al Jazeera and you will find that – other than covering the DOHA conferences – mentioning of climate change rarely occurs. They are a fossil fuel backed news outlet. Good for political news but they’re not going to be telling anyone how bad their product is.

    • PithHelmut

      Try learning about the carbon cycle Gregg. It tells much and one needn’t be a scientist to get it.  You think carbon dioxide that took billions of years and atmospheres to accumulate now being pumped into 200 years worth of atmospheres (including our own) while cutting down trees (the lungs of the earth) plus all the other daggers we stab the planet with, are not going to have an effect?  Not to mention the lack of economic penalty for dumping that junk into our atmosphere?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/O7F2DDNPMXCAAA4WT2Q2DUOPIQ Robert O'Rourke

    At the 21min mark, the guest says that it’s difficult to get the Goverment to pay, or justify paying to the public, for projects that protect against events with a very low probability of occuring. Well, 1 town on the east coast of Japan was not harmed by the Tsunami that swamped the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in early ’12 or late ’11. The town had a major who had the foresight to build a really really high Tsumani protection wall to protect the town of maybe 50,000 residents. It was erected in the 80′s if I remember correctly & his arguement was “what if” & thankfully it was built. People of course said it was outragious & a waste but years later, it paid off more than anyone could of ever imagined.
    Sometimes we got to reach deep & do what’s got to be done yesterday to protect us from the clearly coming danger of tomorrow or even today.

  • PithHelmut

    We should remove all subsidies from all industries.  If they cannot survive without subsidies then so be it!

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 31, 2014
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