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LA Dave

Bill Steffen and Climate Change

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I am amazed that Grand Rapids' favorite weatherman has a blog in which he spouts right wing climate change-denying allegations on a regular basis. I have never heard of a news outlet allowing one of their representatives to spout such stuff. (I would be equally amazed were he to regurgitate Michael Moore.) Is this something that people in GR accept with equanimity?

I miss Craig James (whose real name, by the way, is Craig Woods -- had to change it to work at WZZM) and my favorite of all time, Buck Matthews.

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I am amazed that Grand Rapids' favorite weatherman has a blog in which he spouts right wing climate change-denying allegations on a regular basis. I have never heard of a news outlet allowing one of their representatives to spout such stuff. (I would be equally amazed were he to regurgitate Michael Moore.) Is this something that people in GR accept with equanimity?

I miss Craig James (whose real name, by the way, is Craig Woods -- had to change it to work at WZZM) and my favorite of all time, Buck Matthews.

Geez. I googled "Craig James" and he is as big a climate change denier as Steffen. Is it something in the Lake Michigan water?

I did not realize that these guys were part of the movement of some meteorologists to attack climate change research. Interesting -- a bunch of guys with bachelor degrees in meteorology attacking the work of climate scientist Ph.Ds who are looking at 1,000s of years of data, not yesterday's cold snap.

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I've noticed this too and laugh every time I see Bill Steffen's posts. I guess they give their weather guys more leeway on their "blogs." But then again, it is WOODTV8. I picture them still having the kind of fax machines with rolls of paper on them, wood paneling on the walls and cigarette ashtrays at every desk (aka Mad Men).

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"I am amazed that Grand Rapids' favorite weatherman has a blog in which he spouts right wing climate change-denying allegations on a regular basis. "

Climate change, formally pushed as "Global Warming", and before as "A New Ice Age", as it is being currently pushed by many activists is a THEORY.

It is not a hard set fact nor is it a religion to attack other as being a heretic for not blindly subscribing to. Guess what? You have some guys say it is a fact, some say it is not.

This is why we have the LAWS OF GRAVITY and THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.

That is called scientific debate, and again that is why climate change (as it is being presented) is a THEROY that requires further study and analysis, not wide-eyed zealots damning you if you dont fall into line.

Steffen has been a meteorologist longer than most people on this site have been alive, so I would be careful not to put up a theory against a professional who knows what he is talking about. And WOODTV is under no obligation to force them to fall into "left-wing" dogma.

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I tend to be rather left but still question whether or not man-made climate change is something we will be / are experiencing and if we are, how much man has really affected it.

That doesn't mean, however, that I support filling the air with pollutants, either, however. As someone else had pointed out in a great youtube video, there's four potential scenarios. 1) Climate change is being caused by man but the threat is eliminated by approaching the situation and cleaning our air; 2) Climate change is not being caused by man but we still have better air to breathe and a nicer environment to enjoy by approaching the situation and cleaning our air; 3) Climate change is being caused by man and we do nothing, leading to disaster; 4) Climate change is not being caused by man and we do nothing, and everything remains as it is. Since it's still such a hot debate and the theory cannot really be proven until it happens to us, doing nothing carries much larger risk than doing something.

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I tend to be rather left but still question whether or not man-made climate change is something we will be / are experiencing and if we are, how much man has really affected it.

That doesn't mean, however, that I support filling the air with pollutants, either, however. As someone else had pointed out in a great youtube video, there's four potential scenarios. 1) Climate change is being caused by man but the threat is eliminated by approaching the situation and cleaning our air; 2) Climate change is not being caused by man but we still have better air to breathe and a nicer environment to enjoy by approaching the situation and cleaning our air; 3) Climate change is being caused by man and we do nothing, leading to disaster; 4) Climate change is not being caused by man and we do nothing, and everything remains as it is. Since it's still such a hot debate and the theory cannot really be proven until it happens to us, doing nothing carries much larger risk than doing something.

Personally, even though I read a lot, I'm not smart enough or have enough time to do my own experiments so I tend to believe the people who in my opinion have the most credibility. So if it is between a TV weatherman or the great preponderance of scientists who are knowledgeable about climate, I come down with the scientists. Like Vern Ehlers, my favorite magazine is Scientific American.

Thought this was interesting from NPR yesterday;

"The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever

that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities. Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change."

NPR - Climate Change: Public Skeptical, Scientists Sure

Not sure if this was part of climate change or was just an isolated event but I was at Yosemite two-three weeks ago and the waterfalls were spectacular, more so than usual. There were waterfalls where no one had seen waterfalls before. The snow pack on the mountain tops that feed the waterfalls was twice the average and greater than has ever been recorded. In fact I got caught in a snow storm on June 1. So if this is climate change it's been great for me so far.

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Personally, even though I read a lot, I'm not smart enough or have enough time to do my own experiments so I tend to believe the people who in my opinion have the most credibility. So if it is between a TV weatherman or the great preponderance of scientists who are knowledgeable about climate, I come down with the scientists.

At one time most scientist thought the sun orbited around the Earth, that the whole universe was contained inside the Milky Way and that flies grew from rotted meat.

The "great preponderance of scientists" is a meaninglessness yardstick, because again it is not all of them, and what they are pushing is a theory backed up with incomplete data and anecdotal evidence.

And added to this the fact that those scientist that dissent from this are sometimes fired, receive death threats, or just flat-out labeled a "denier" or "TV weatherman", and that some of those on the pro side have been caught faking data to push a political agenda should give anyone pause before they start subscribing credibility to any of this.

It has turned into almost a religious faith/crusade on par with all the excesses of the Inquisition.

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At one time most scientist thought the sun orbited around the Earth, that the whole universe was contained inside the Milky Way and that flies grew from rotted meat.

The "great preponderance of scientists" is a meaninglessness yardstick, because again it is not all of them, and what they are pushing is a theory backed up with incomplete data and anecdotal evidence.

And added to this the fact that those scientist that dissent from this are sometimes fired, receive death threats, or just flat-out labeled a "denier" or "TV weatherman", and that some of those on the pro side have been caught faking data to push a political agenda should give anyone pause before they start subscribing credibility to any of this.

It has turned into almost a religious faith/crusade on par with all the excesses of the Inquisition.

Really? The last time I checked, it was the deniers who were doing the prosecuting. Like the Attorney General of Virginia embarking on a witch hunt of a professor who used to be at the University of Virginia, trying to discredit his climate change work.

But the point of my post was not to get into a debate about climate change, but to note that it is incredible that a local weatherman is pushing a political agenda on a station-owned blog.

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Personally, even though I read a lot, I'm not smart enough or have enough time to do my own experiments so I tend to believe the people who in my opinion have the most credibility. So if it is between a TV weatherman or the great preponderance of scientists who are knowledgeable about climate, I come down with the scientists. Like Vern Ehlers, my favorite magazine is Scientific American.

Thought this was interesting from NPR yesterday;

"The American public is less likely to believe in global warming than it was just five years ago. Yet, paradoxically, scientists are more confident than ever

that climate change is real and caused largely by human activities. Something a bit strange is happening with public opinion and climate change."

NPR - Climate Change: Public Skeptical, Scientists Sure

Not sure if this was part of climate change or was just an isolated event but I was at Yosemite two-three weeks ago and the waterfalls were spectacular, more so than usual. There were waterfalls where no one had seen waterfalls before. The snow pack on the mountain tops that feed the waterfalls was twice the average and greater than has ever been recorded. In fact I got caught in a snow storm on June 1. So if this is climate change it's been great for me so far.

Yes, the snow in the Sierra was incredible this year, which is great for California in the short term. At the same time, Texas is undergoing historic drought, with some $4 billion in crop losses. Is that climate change? Some would argue it is just weather, and there is always truth to that. But one of the predictions made by climate scientists is that in a warmer world, there will be not only extremes of drought and heat, but also of rain (and if the altitude is high enough, snow). It has rained nearly continuously in Colombia for that past year. France is suffering through the worst drought in 50 years.

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Yes, the snow in the Sierra was incredible this year, which is great for California in the short term. At the same time, Texas is undergoing historic drought, with some $4 billion in crop losses. Is that climate change? Some would argue it is just weather, and there is always truth to that. But one of the predictions made by climate scientists is that in a warmer world, there will be not only extremes of drought and heat, but also of rain (and if the altitude is high enough, snow). It has rained nearly continuously in Colombia for that past year. France is suffering through the worst drought in 50 years.

And this is the first year in recorded history this has happened? Not at all.

If a weather record was broken this year, then it had to break a record set sometime in the past when I'm sure people might have subscribed it to something other than nature working like it always has. Take the Dust Bowl, the Year without Summer, and the Little Ice Age.

The rest of the world is having weather as usual.

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I think it's a pretty well-established fact that the earth is in a warming trend and that glaciers are melting. What's less clear is to what extent human involvement has to do with it, or what the eventual effects might be. We've obviously had major climate variations over the course of history without human involvement, so even if we are to blame, I'm not sure we necessarily need to do anything about it. It might be better to spend money to mitigate the effects of climate change rather than to try and prevent it.

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That's essentially how I see the situation. The world's climate has never been constant and has always been in flux. Rewind to a few hundred years ago, people all across Europe were calling on priests and bishops to exorcise the land, the sky, etc. because they believed demons to be causing an ice age. Obviously we know that's not the case, and I'm not saying that's proof that people are wrong again. My point is that there was a massive (to us) climate change which occurred before we really had the capability to alter the environment accidentally. Before that mini-ice-age, the world also experienced a warming trend. The world had warmed so much that England was even competing with Italy and France in wine production. We went from that, to glaciers expanding and engulfing villages in the Alps and the Thames completely freezing over, and all of northern Europe completely abandoning their eating habits to switch to more cold-weather-hardy vegetables (the villages that refused to switch to what they viewed as unclean potatoes only starved to death). The Industrial Revolution began in the middle of this ice age. One of the most cited examples of proof I see about climate change being caused by humans is that as industrial pollution started and increased, our global temperature also has increased. I call this into question because our Industrial Revolution was indeed begun in the middle of a small ice age, possibly born out of necessity from the frozen rivers being unable to operate the water wheels of mills.

Now granted, I'm not a scientist, nor am I an expert, so really I don't know. I just know history and have good reason to question the claims that mankind is drastically altering the world's temperature.

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Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases... Because greenhouse gases continue to increase, we are, in effect, conducting a global climate experiment, neither planned nor controlled, the results of which may present unprecedented challenges to our wisdom and foresight as well as have significant impacts on our natural and societal systems. (American Meteorological Society)

The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century... The IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue. (National Research Council)

Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles (IPCC, 2007). There is very little room for doubt that observed climate trends are due to human activities. The threats are serious and action is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of climate change. (American Chemical Society)

This Wikipedia article does a good job collecting the statements from various societies: http://en.wikipedia...._climate_change.

I will admit that it's possible that dissenting opinions are being squelched. In fact, I'd be absolutely thrilled if that's the case and it turns out that climate change is not real. Unfortunately, there's a more-than-zero chance that the multitude of statements supporting the theory of man-made global warming are accurate. In this case, we need to act.

Pett-Cartoon,-2009-12-07,-USA-Today-759025.jpg

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Unless the technology is developed to practically wean the world away from carbon consumption all the debate will never overcome the political and financial constraints.

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Climate change, formally pushed as "Global Warming", and before as "A New Ice Age", as it is being currently pushed by many activists is a THEORY.

Theories are much more than facts. A fact alone can be right or wrong. Facts are the minute of science. A theory is an explanation of observations, hypothesizes, and evidence.

Germs are "only" a theory. - http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/contagion/germtheory.html

Atoms are "only" a theory. - http://books.google.com/books?id=RJ6B1SrCJ5sC&pg=PA90&sig=G1zpd1pVSzmBdg9u1-n2byvEIzA&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

Friction is "only" a theory. - http://web.mst.edu/~oci/Topic11/T11-1/cml11-1a/frame.html

Gravity is "only" a theory. - http://archive.ncsa.illinois.edu/Cyberia/NumRel/GenRelativity.html

Granted, in the popular vernacular, the word "theory" is interchangeable with "a guess" but it is certainly not that way in science.

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"I am amazed that Grand Rapids' favorite weatherman has a blog in which he spouts right wing climate change-denying allegations on a regular basis. "

Climate change, formally pushed as "Global Warming", and before as "A New Ice Age", as it is being currently pushed by many activists is a THEORY.

It is not a hard set fact nor is it a religion to attack other as being a heretic for not blindly subscribing to. Guess what? You have some guys say it is a fact, some say it is not.

This is why we have the LAWS OF GRAVITY and THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.

That is called scientific debate, and again that is why climate change (as it is being presented) is a THEROY that requires further study and analysis, not wide-eyed zealots damning you if you dont fall into line.

Steffen has been a meteorologist longer than most people on this site have been alive, so I would be careful not to put up a theory against a professional who knows what he is talking about. And WOODTV is under no obligation to force them to fall into "left-wing" dogma.

That is just completely false. Theories do not become laws and laws do not become theories.. they are on "equal" footing... Laws are scientific ideas that are tested and are true in a controlled setting where as scientific theories are are ideas that are tested and are true in nature...

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Pett-Cartoon,-2009-12-07,-USA-Today-759025.jpg

I've expressed that I'm still on the fence on the issue, but when it comes to what should be DONE, totally this. There's no reason not to try to work towards a cleaner environment.

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Most all of the GR weather folk are in the same boat. I've sat and had a conversation with Matt Kirkwood about this and he's in the same mind set. They all see weather patterns as cyclical. And I would agree to a point, climate fluctuation has a tendency to run in cycles and do think that is in play.

However, the third rail that these guys don't want to acknowledge is the human intervention with regard to CO2 levels and how it relates to climate. To me the most compelling evidence is the ice core samples taken at the poles that show CO2 levels in the atmosphere through time. It is clear from that evidence that CO2 levels in the atmosphere runs in cycles. It's up, it's down. What is shocking to see is the level of CO2 currently in the atmosphere. Exponentially higher then any point in history. So are humans affecting climate? I 100% believe that we are.

This is becoming apparent with the increase in occurrence and strength of violent storms; Katrina, Rita, Andrew, et.al.

CO2 emissions needs to be viewed as a global policy and everyone needs to be on board. Developing nations like China and India are going to far surpass whatever we've done as they become more industrialized.

BTW, I hate the term Global Warming. While technically true, I much prefer the term Global Climate Change.

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This is why we have the LAWS OF GRAVITY and THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.

That is called scientific debate, and again that is why climate change (as it is being presented) is a THEROY that requires further study and analysis, not wide-eyed zealots damning you if you dont fall into line.

You have a pretty solid misunderstanding of what Law and Theory mean in scientific circles. Newton's "law" of gravity has been demonstrated over and over to be incomplete. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity followed by his General Theory of Relativity has been tested over and over again to produce correct results that come up wrong when applying Newton's "laws" of gravity. If you use (or have used) a GPS receiver, you've used a device which relies on relativistic adjustments to Newton's laws.

I see this misunderstanding of "law" and "theory" used extensively whenever people discuss evolution and climate change, and it's almost universally being used to push a right-wing agenda. If you're going to argue based on scientific merits, you might want to start with learning the basics.

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Most all of the GR weather folk are in the same boat. I've sat and had a conversation with Matt Kirkwood about this and he's in the same mind set. They all see weather patterns as cyclical. And I would agree to a point, climate fluctuation has a tendency to run in cycles and do think that is in play.

However, the third rail that these guys don't want to acknowledge is the human intervention with regard to CO2 levels and how it relates to climate. To me the most compelling evidence is the ice core samples taken at the poles that show CO2 levels in the atmosphere through time. It is clear from that evidence that CO2 levels in the atmosphere runs in cycles. It's up, it's down. What is shocking to see is the level of CO2 currently in the atmosphere. Exponentially higher then any point in history. So are humans affecting climate? I 100% believe that we are.

This is becoming apparent with the increase in occurrence and strength of violent storms; Katrina, Rita, Andrew, et.al.

CO2 emissions needs to be viewed as a global policy and everyone needs to be on board. Developing nations like China and India are going to far surpass whatever we've done as they become more industrialized.

BTW, I hate the term Global Warming. While technically true, I much prefer the term Global Climate Change.

Exactly. An overall warming of temperatures globally may make it colder in some areas, and more volatile.

I also agree that I don't understand what all these meteorologists say about CO2 increases. Maybe they feel it's outside of their area of study?

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.

I don't think CO2, Carbon Dioxide has any negative effect on weather or life. Actually the more CO2 in the air the more life results. It's the exhaust of combustion engines, Carbon Monoxide that is harmful. Animal farts and exhales are good, transportation exhaust is harmful. How are man made clouds effecting global climate change? How was the Global Climate effected during the 9-11 Airline shut down?

Research, research and confirm!

.

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You have a pretty solid misunderstanding of what Law and Theory mean in scientific circles. Newton's "law" of gravity has been demonstrated over and over to be incomplete. Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity followed by his General Theory of Relativity has been tested over and over again to produce correct results that come up wrong when applying Newton's "laws" of gravity. If you use (or have used) a GPS receiver, you've used a device which relies on relativistic adjustments to Newton's laws.

I see this misunderstanding of "law" and "theory" used extensively whenever people discuss evolution and climate change, and it's almost universally being used to push a right-wing agenda. If you're going to argue based on scientific merits, you might want to start with learning the basics.

Ok, if you don't think that those terms are used at the optimum. That's your opinion. You are free to take it up with the scientific community that so far has not shared that view.

However, Global Warming, or whatever it is called this week, as it is pushed by activists as being caused by man, is still an unproven theory no matter how much you want to believe.

The fact that an unproven theory is being used to push radical left-wing policies, and being used to stifle dissent, makes the whole thing even more suspect.

Thankfully public sentiment has turned sharply from that extreme. Now people that still use the scientific method (which thankfully still hasn't been discarded) can get to the bottom of this the right way.

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.

I don't think CO2, Carbon Dioxide has any negative effect on weather or life. Actually the more CO2 in the air the more life results. It's the exhaust of combustion engines, Carbon Monoxide that is harmful. Animal farts and exhales are good, transportation exhaust is harmful. How are man made clouds effecting global climate change? How was the Global Climate effected during the 9-11 Airline shut down?

Research, research and confirm!

.

And because I have to do what you just said for my job, not just my personal edification as a well informed citizen of this planet, I can say this:

Carbon Monoxide (CO) has been long recognized as a pollutant (i.e., a danger to human health) and the EPA has established standards that must be met or maintained throughout the country. It's also a "hot spot" pollutant and must be monitored and evaluated both at the regional and more local levels. All in all, due to a variety of factors to control emissions from stationary and mobile sources, CO levels have been going down in most areas. It also can be dissipated by winds and air currents, so the "hot spot" effect often doesn't last long in certain circumstances. I know Grand Rapids is nonattainment/maintenance for Ozone, I'm not sure about its status for CO.

Carbon Dixoide (CO2), however, is part of the "cycle of life", but it also builds up in the atmosphere if it isn't reduced through photsynthesis and other processes (or the emissions themselves are reduced). The CO2 levels are building rapidly in the atmosphere and all the wind and air currents won't make a difference in the levels worldwide. I don't know about you, but I learned about the greenhouse effect back in elementary school in the 1960s and also why Venus is so hot, too (because there's so much CO2 in the Venutian atmosphere). Granted, we probably won't face the levels of Venus any time soon, but with increasing CO2 levels, it shouldn't be a surprise to a 5th grader why the climate, overall, is getting warmer.

Now if you want to say that's just the way the Earth works, CO2 levels go up and they go down over time (along with more "powerful" GHGs - methane and nitrous oxide), I guess you can ignore the coincidence that this current increase has been correlated to the advent of the Industrial Revolution and has accelerated since. But aside from that, we will need to consider how to deal with consequences of an increased greenhouse effect on the climate EVEN IF IT'S ONLY A NATURAL EVENT, including adapting to more extreme weather, rising sea levels, changing rain bands leading to increased drought/deserts in some areas, and more rain in others, etc.

I hate to say this, but West Michigan could see more snow, at least until things really warm up, if Lake Michigan rarely freezes and the snow making machine doesn't shut down - still (just) cold enough to snow, but not cold enough to freeze the water.

Research, research and confirm!

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