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Turbulent Times

I recently read a Mallard Fillmore comic strip that bothered me. If you don’t know Mallard Fillmore, he is a conservative duck that makes Rush Limbaugh type outrageous remarks on the comic pages of many newspapers. I sometimes wonder if Bruce Tinsley the author listens to Rush Limbaugh and puts Rush’s words in Mallards mouth. Nice work if you can get it.

Many of the points that both Rush and Mallard make can be argued in a way to use facts to point to their predetermined conclusion. The same could be said for many extreme points of view.

But, Mallard (or Bruce) made the following statement about global warming in his January 5, 2008 strip.
“Mallard’s New-Year’s Prediction #12: All of those Scientists who predicted, wrongly, for the past two years… …that global warming would cause lots of catastrophic hurricanes will do it again!! (Eventually, they’ll be right.)”

There is a problem with this statement, and that is that Mallard is wrong. It is like the tree falling in the woods, and no one is there to hear it. Did it fall? Mallard is saying that there weren’t any major catastrophic hurricanes in the last two years, because they didn’t strike the USA. At least that’s what I am guessing, because in the last Hurricane season there were some quite dangerous storms that hit Mexico and South East Asia. In fact, two years ago there was a massive storm that hit China. Just because the storms don’t hit the USA doesn’t mean that they didn’t happen. Unless you are a conservative American with blinders on and don’t acknowledge that the rest of the world exists.

Global Warming causes the oceans temperature to rise. As the seasons change the heat generated in the latitudes nearest to the sun (Northern in the Summer and Southern in the Winter) will redistribute by convection. This means that heat rises in the tropics and it is redistributed toward the poles as the seasons change. If there is more heat, then the redistribution may become more vigorous. Hurricanes are nature’s way of pushing massive amounts of heat toward the poles. More heat creates more powerful redistribution. Whether the CO2 in the atmosphere is causing the global warming or not the heating is happening and undisputed. The conservatives that don’t want to cut our dependence on oil don’t even argue about heating any more. They claim instead that the heating is due to some natural cycle of overall heating and cooling. That position doesn’t matter for the point that the Hurricane intensities will rise if the Earth is truly heating up - regardless of why it is rising.

The problem with Mallard making this blatantly wrong statement to a national audience of people who are centered on America and not the globe in total is that these people are willing to say, “I didn’t see any Hurricanes hit the USA this year, so Mallard makes a lot of sense.” This is just irresponsible manipulation for political self-interest.

The point is that the Earth is heating up, CO2 levels are increasing and the heating of the Oceans will require redistribution of that heat by convection. That heat is pushed toward the poles more vigorously when the temperature differences are high. And, one thing that many people forget, those massive amounts of warm air pushed toward the poles actually impart momentum into that cold air that may actually be pushed further south than would normally occur. So, if you get snow in Florida it could be due to global warming. This is because a strong surge of warm air could push into Russia with such high intensity that the cold air sitting at the pole might be forced south over the United States and in effect freezing Florida. The over all effect is to mix the warm air and cold air as the overall temperature of the Earth increases.

The whole idea that weather changes in one part of the world are connected to other parts of the world doesn’t make sense to a person that only thinks about what they see when they look out their window. A person sitting in Boca Raton, Florida and sees the temperatures drops to record low temperatures isn’t likely to believe in global warming if they aren’t curious enough to ask the question - why? Rush and by extension Mallard see the record cold in Florida and say “Ha Ha Ha, those scientists were wrong.” But, the reality is that the record cold they are witnessing is due to the global turbulence induced by global warming. Ignorance is bliss when you only see things the way that you already knew that they were. Unfortunately ignorance also leads to inaction and disaster if we don’t try to do something before its too late.


Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit


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22 Comments in 14 threads.»

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Comment by Lisa
2008-01-09 18:52:20

Only God can control the weather.

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-09 18:57:17

When one detonates a nuclear weapon, doesn’t the weather change? You have to admit that it gets a bit warmer around the weapon, there might even be a bit of a breeze.

Comment by me
2008-01-10 03:51:55

So prove that it isn’t God that makes it a bit warmer around the bomb and adds a bit of a breeze… :^)

Comment by Paul Watson
2008-01-13 14:58:19

Sure. When you prove there’s a God to affect the weather, I’ll prove why He can’t. Deal? ;-)

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Comment by me
2008-01-14 22:34:37

Sorry Paul, but it was the good Doctor’s claim to prove, not mine. His comment was clearly predicated on the supposition that it was man, not God, causing the warmth and breeze. I’d just like to know how he knows that it’s man, not God, causing them. Re-examine my comment carefully and you’ll find that I’m not claiming that it is God creating the warmth and the breeze…merely asking Doc to back up his claim.

But if you’ve got something in the way of proof that it’s not God doing those things, then it doesn’t really matter whether it’s Dr. Forbush or you that provides it… ;^)

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-14 22:43:11

Obviously it depends on how you define “God’s action.” Does God do every thing that man wills, or does he give us the illusion that man has free will? If man choses take an action does God merely allow it or is man actually making the action as he presumes that he is making? If you believe in a God that needs to approve everything before it happens, then you don’t believe in free will and then God does control everything that happens including the illusion of you having free will.

(Comments won't nest below this level)
Comment by me
2008-01-15 01:54:54

Well the philosophical question of whether we have free will or merely the illusion of free will is well beyond my meager capabilities of ratiocination. :^(

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-09 17:47:01

In 1998 Tropical Cyclone Thelma was the first category 5 cyclone to be observed in the Timor Sea north of Australia. Imagine that, no one had ever observed a Cyclone of that intensity before 1998. In March 1999 Tropical cyclone Vance was the second. In March 2004 Tropical Cyclone Fay was another category 5 cyclone observed in the Timor Sea. In March 2006 Glenda was yet another. There seems to be something happening when a new phenomena never observed before appears in 1998. And again appears 3 more times since. Of course this is Australia centric. If we add to this phenomena the increases in the Atlantic and Western Pacific and Eastern Pacific and Indian Ocean the observed effect of global warming is becoming more dramatic.

The correct way to measure this of course is to measure the total energy dispersed by all means and integrate it in increments. Then observe the total energy dispersal over the entire globe. However, an even simpler way of measuring this energy dispersal is to measure the total energy increase i.e. the mean temperature of the Earth. Or, that’s global warming! And, the slope in that temperature increase determines the intensity of the mixing needed to accomplish the mixing. Which means that the faster the Earth is heating up the more severe the turbulence needed to mix the air. Which translates into the faster we are heating up the more severe the storms that are needed to mix the air. The air needs to be mixed everywhere, not just over the USA.

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-09 15:05:43

Oh, don’t forget in 2005 we had Severe Tropical Cyclone Ingrid which was significant because, as the Australian government says: “It was unusual in that it is the only cyclone in recorded history to impact, as a severe tropical cyclone, on the coastline of three different States or Territories. It crossed the Queensland east coast south of Lockhart River at Category 4; moved across the Gulf into the Northern Territory and impacted on the small islands north of the Arnhem Land coast as a Category 5 cyclone; weakened slightly to Category 4 as it crossed Croker Island and the Cobourg Peninsula; was at Category 3 intensity as it traversed the Tiwi Islands north of Darwin; and finally reintensified to Category 4, before making a final landfall on the West Australian Kimberley coast at that intensity.”

Extremely unusual in that “calm” year of 2005.

But, then in the “calm” year of 2006 we had Severe Tropical Cyclone Monica which almost exactly repeated the same rare path of Ingrid. And, these two events happened in these calm years.

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-09 11:42:49


wrt 2006, the major activity was in the Pacific ocean. The Atlantic as you noted was quite quiet.

Comment by Dr. Forbush
2008-01-09 11:39:38

The 2007 Atlantic hurricane season was an event in the annual cycle of tropical cyclone formation. It officially started June 1, 2007, and ended November 30, 2007, dates that conventionally delimit the period when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin during the year. However, the formation of Subtropical Storm Andrea on May 9, 2007 marked an earlier beginning to the season, and the season extended past the official end of the season when Tropical Storm Olga developed on December 11.

On August 20, Hurricane Dean was upgraded to category 5 status and made landfall at that strength on the Mexican Yucatán Peninsula. When Hurricane Felix reached category 5 status, 2007 became one of four recorded Atlantic seasons that have had more than one category 5 storm — the others being 1960, 1961 and 2005 — and the only time two Atlantic hurricanes have ever made landfall at Category 5 strength in the same season. Hurricane Humberto also became the fastest developing storm on record to be so close to land. It strengthened from a 35 mph (55 km/h) tropical depression to a 90 mph (150 km/h) hurricane in 14 hours while 15 miles (24 km) off the coast of Texas. September had a record tying 8 storms, but the strengths and durations of the storms were low. Hurricane Humberto became the first hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. [1]

Comment by manapp99
2008-01-09 11:20:18

Should have read “quiet” not “quite” Shesh.

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