Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy's Global Warming Lesson

I heard the first news stories today regarding a linkage of Sandy and global warming. And I suspect there may be some internal debate within climate research as to the whether the odds of this type of storm has been increased because of Arctic warming.

But putting that aside I do think there is a valuable global warming lesson with Sandy. That lesson is that atmospheric models are getting very good. Global warming linkage or no global warming linkage, the atmospheric models that have been developed and run on big computers did an amazing job with this storm. Days in advance the weather models in common usage were predicting this storm with remarkable accuracy.

This was not simply spotting a big storm and saying there is a big storm heading to the coast of New Jersey and Delaware. No this was taking thousands of data points from thousands of miles apart and calculating what would happen. The models came up with a solution that was far from the ordinary. Solutions that would cause one to ask, Could that be right? Indeed the solution, as outrageous as it seemed, was dead on right.

It truly is a good thing that emergency managers and high level politicians took the model solutions seriously and acted well ahead of the storm arrival. Paying heed to the model solutions saved many lives. There can be debate about Sandy and global warming, but the bigger lesson from Sandy is the complex atmospheric modeling efforts are predictive even when solutions outside living memory are predicted. Perhaps Sandy demonstrates that we should pay heed to the climate solutions that climate models are predicting.     

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The fastest mitigation to climate change is to severely reduce consumption of animal foods. About 1/2 of human induced warming is attributable to animal agriculture. Methane is 24 times more potent than CO2 and takes only 7 years to cycle out of the atmosphere. CO2 takes around 100 years to come out. Human pursuit of animal protein is the leading cause of methane release and a primary cause of CO2 concentrating in the atmosphere. Check the facts and act!

"As environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future: deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease." Worldwatch Institute, "Is Meat Sustainable?"

"The livestock sector emerges as one of the top contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The impact is so significant that it needs to be addressed with urgency." UN Food and Agricultural Organization's report "Livestock's Long Shadow"

“If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains... the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.” Environmental Defense Fund

Why would someone choose to be vegan? To slow global warming for one! Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." ~ Albert Einstein