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The Changing Climate

March 23, 2010, 2:10 PM

I have often been asked about my thoughts on the recently increased storm activity and global warming. The fact is, you cannot judge a book by its cover, so you cannot make any definitive statements one way or the other about global warming based on current storms, which are primarily local effects.

Global warming depends on averaging data over many years, decades, and centuries across the entire planet, not just the United States, which occupies only a tiny fraction of the earth's surface. For example, just a few years ago, Europe was baking in the greatest hot spell in memory, which killed thousandsbut that also does not say anything conclusive at all.

People disagree on the human component of global warming. However, most everyone can agree on several points:

a) The Earth is heating up and this is easily measured

b) The extra heat means more moisture in the air

c) Extra moisture and warming in general causes swings in climate

These swings, in principle, might be manifested as:

i) More droughts in the Southwest

ii) Increased hurricane activity affecting Florida and the Caribbean

iii) More snow storms

So, without making any statements about the role of human activity, one can hypothesize that the current storms are consistent with increased swings in climate, driven by more moisture in the air, which in turn is caused by heating.

This leads to a prediction: More violent swings in the climate in the coming years, in the form of floods, droughts, snow storms, hurricanes, etc.

As humans in a free country, we are free to believe whatever we want about global warming, and to disagree about anything. But any comment that has relevance has to be backed up by both mathematics and data—not just good intentions.


The Changing Climate

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