Sunday, January 12, 2014

Reports of Global Warming’s Death

It’s been a cold winter so far! First, a research vessel gets stranded in the Antarctic and the ice breaker attempting to rescue the Akademik Shokalskiy gets stuck in the sea ice too. Then the USA gets hit by a polar vortex that freezes practically half of all Americans. It’s no surprise that climate change deniers are mocking the concept of Global Warming. After all, how could the planet be warming with unprecedented cold weather like this happening around the globe?

Maybe it could be warming because there are precedents for these weather events after all. In fact, a review of the historical data shows that the weather events were actually evidence of warming.

That’s right — the only thing that was unprecedented about the polar vortex freezing the USA was the rarity of the event. The truth is that Global Warming is lengthening the gaps between deep cold snaps like the one that just hit the US, say meteorologists. It’s been seventeen years since temperatures dipped this low in the US. “That stretch — from Jan. 13, 1997 to Monday — is by far the longest the U.S. has gone without the national average plunging below 18 degrees.”

The Akademik Shokalskiy did not get caught in sea ice because the temperatures in the Antarctic were colder than usual. It got caught because it was deep in Commonwealth Bay when sudden gale force winds blew fast ice into the bay before the Akademik had the opportunity to get out of it. When you look at the numbers, it becomes undeniable that, in spite of the increase in a certain type of sea ice in the Antarctic, Global Warming is melting the ice on both of the earth’s poles.

First of all, take a look at how much of Antarctica is melting in recent times:

Ice Melt

Then look at the extent of sea ice in the Arctic in recent times compared to the past 1,450 years:

Arctic sea ice extent over the last 1,450 years

These factors are leading to a rise in sea level that affects the entire planet:

Mean Sea Level

When you take a closer look at the data, you can see that the reports of Global Warming’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Friday, January 03, 2014

The mountain erodes back into a molehill

For over a year, Republicans have been desperately trying to conflate the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi with a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to cover-up the "fact" that al Qaeda was the perpetrator. There is a general consensus on both the Left and the Right that incompetence and ineptitude played a role in exacerbating the calamity that occurred on September 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. But the White House denies that they sent Susan Rice out to the Sunday morning news shows with talking points stating that the Innocence of Muslims video incited the attackers knowing full well the attack was actually orchestrated by al Qaeda.

It turns out that the whole Benghazi affair isn't a major cover-up conspiracy reaching the highest levels of government after all. In fact, the Innocence of Muslims video was the spark that led to the attack on the mission and CIA annex that fateful 9/11. And guess what else -- the attack was led by a militia that was involved in the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi but had nothing to do with al Qaeda (or any other international terrorist organization).

Yet in the face of all this, Rep. Darrell Issa stands by his claims of al Qaeda affiliation in the Benghazi attacks. As I watched him refuse to denounce his erroneous claims, he looked to me like a little boy with jelly smeared all over his face refusing to admit that he ate the jelly doughnut. Here's an idea congressman: if you don't like defending false assertions, stop making claims based on absolutely no evidence.