Monday, February 22, 2010

Well, Are They Rising, Or Not?

The waters, that is. Now, I know that Obama claimed when the nomination was given to him by the DNC (cue angelic choirs), "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal..." Oh, how I wish I was kidding, but that is just one of the Great Moments that would occur because the will of the people was subverted (ah, democracy - dontcha just love it??).

But now we are finding out that this threat may have been overstated, thogh I seriously doubt it is a result of Obama's claims. Actually, it is worse than that. As it turns out, Climate Scientists Withdraw Journal Claims of Rising Sea Levels.

Say what?

Again, I believe in being a good steward of this planet on which we make our home regardless of how much the claims of global warming may, or may not, be exaggerated. I have long been an environmentalist, and do not feel compelled to change that underlying belief because a bunch of scientists may, or may not, have fudged the data.

But here's the thing. This is my front yard:

So, not only does this matter to me in a big picture way, it matters to me in a very personal, direct way. As it is, insurance companies like State Farm have stopped insuring people who live on the coast in these here parts like I do (our insurance is with Lloyds of London - I kid you not).

And we get articles like this in our daily newspaper, "Coalition Hoping For Sea Change As Ocean Levels Rise," that contain information in them that scares the absolute bejesus out of Lowcountry residents, like me:
An international group of climate scientists predicted last fall that sea levels will rise by 23 inches this century as the oceans warm, which would be roughly double the rise documented during the last century.

That prediction from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not account for the record-setting pace of melting polar ice, however.

"The potential is so astounding, if it continues," Duke University Professor Orrin Pilkey said at a panel discussion in Charleston addressing the issue. "I think that 3 to 5 feet is a conservative estimate for coastal management here."

Holy crappydoo - that would make a HUGE change in terms of where I live right now, especially when we are already getting high tides that leave the water lapping the bottom of our docks. But add to that the fact that this is Hurricane Alley. If waters are truly rising, the impact of a hurricane hitting at the "right" time will surely increase the levels of devastation, will they not?

Well, yes, if THIS article is to be believed, "Study: Warming To Bring Stronger Hurricanes":
Knutson said the new study, which looks at worldwide projections, doesn't make clear whether global warming will lead to more or less hurricane damage on balance. But he pointed to a study he co-authored last month that looked at just the Atlantic hurricane basin and predicted that global warming would trigger a 28 percent increase in damage near the U.S. despite fewer storms.

That study suggests category 4 and 5 Atlantic hurricanes — those with winds more than 130 mph — would nearly double by the end of the century. On average, a category 4 or stronger hurricane hits the United States about once every seven years, mostly in Florida or Texas. Recent category 4 or 5 storms include 2004's Charley and 1992's Andrew, but not Katrina which made landfall as a strong category 3.

Outside experts praised the work.

The study does a good job of summarizing the current understanding of storms and warming, said Chunzai Wang, a researcher with NOAA who had no role in the study.

I am more confused than ever. These are not abstract issues to me. They are very, very real, impacting people I know, cities I love, and my very home. So, do we believe this research, or do we not?

Which raises the bigger question: When did "Scientific Method" become so incredibly subjective? Who, or what, is gaining from these questionable studies? If there truly is global warming, which I have long believed to be true because I trusted that these scientists were doing their work based not on politics, but DATA, and that is not being called into question, what are we to believe?

Again - these are not abstract questions to me, or to the community in which I live. We have to plan for these kinds of changes, if they are indeed true. We have to plan what to do in the event of such catastrophic changes, for our homes, and even our docks, not to mention our investments. Are they scaring the crap out of us because they know for a fact this is happening, or because there is some other incentive for doing so? The recent article claiming there has been no "global warming" in 15 years seems to contradict the NEW study claiming hurricanes are getting worse BECAUSE of global warming.

Good grief - can someone help me out here?

Thanks again, everyone, for your kindness and support of me during this very difficult time. I'm not sure I am quite up for writing every single day yet, but will if so moved. I really do thank you for the love and generosity of spirit you have shown me here - it means more to me than I can say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Mary Ellen said...

You know, I used to trust scientists because they've always said they base their information on fact, and not what results they want as the outcome. But I don't trust them any further than I can throw Barney Frank.

You do have a legitimate concern...and you know if you need to get out of the way of a hurricane, you've got a place to stay. (just toss those horses, cats, dogs, etc. in the backseat of your car and c'mon out to flat, boring Illinois! There's plenty of space to board your horses in the area. ) ;-)

Mary Ellen said...

Oh, and by the way...I put this on my blog today and think you'll get a real kick out of it.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, Mary Ellen -

That is exactly it - we used to be able to trust that they were not tweaking the data to achieve a desired outcome (and why we were suspicious abt who was funding particular studies, like drug companies for a certain drug, for instance). And now, we have two contradictory reports in ONE WEEK. Great!!

LOL - thanks - there is a reason why we have a Sienna (though I'm a tad worried abt THAT now - we have been loyal Toyota people for years), so we can fit our animals. Except Jordan. We'll find a way to get him out there to "flat, boring Illinois"! Teehee!

LOVE the video - that is too funny. I was going to go to your blog today anyway, and got interrupted, so thanks for that!