catastrophism English Environment Science Skepticism

The Plus Side of Anthropocene

A group of British scientists has proposed to rename the current geological era as the “Anthropocene“, to register the fact that human activities are transforming the world.

The proponents, and many pessim-environmentalists all too happy to jump on the Anthropocene bandwagon imply no doubt that the aforementioned human activities are negatively transforming the world. But that is by no means a given.

If humans are transforming the world it may be the absolutely obvious, and thus ethically neutral if not positive, consequence of the fact that we have evolved brains: and it would look silly to feel cold in winter and hot in summer. Cue the discovery of fire, and the invention of air conditioning. Analogously regarding teeth: who would want to have them pulled without anaesthetic? Cue the history of medicine and dentistry, including metallurgy. And so on and so forth.

Or alternatively: could the Anthropocene be just one of the signs that the Technological Singularity is really going to happen, thereby possibly transporting humanity to a completely new way of living?

Those are only thoughts, of course: perhaps the doomers and gloomers are right. Still, it’s important to remember that seldom a word contains negative connotations per se. Those are more often than not, in the mind of the beholder…

Italiano Scienza Storia Tecnologia

L’Ottimismo dell’Antropocene

Febbrile e malcelato piacere fra i pessimismi dell’ambientalismo all’annuncio da parte di una organizzazione di geologhi inglesi di ribattezzare la presente era geologica in “Antropocene” (accento, si presume, sulla penultima ‘e’)…

Prendiamo anche per buona l’idea che sa tanto di ossimoro che le ere geologiche compaiano cosi’, da un millennio all’altro. Siamo sicuri, come sottinteso su Ecoalfabeta e presumibilmente dai proponenti stessi, che l'”Antropocene” sia il riconoscimento dei “disastri” che l’attivita’ umana starebbe arrecando al pianeta?

E se invece si trattasse della naturalissima conseguenza del fatto che siamo evoluti con un cervello ragguardevole, e che sarebbe sprecato se fossimo solo capaci di avere freddo d’inverno e caldo d’estate?

O ancora: e se l’Antropocene fosse il segno che i singolaristi alla Kurzwell possano aver ragione, e siamo quindi sull’orlo non di una catastrofe, ma di un miglioramento repentino e imponente della nostra condizione di persone?

Certo, si tratta di ipotesi, specie quest’ultima: ma comunque e’ importante ricordare che le negativita’ spesso vengono date alle parole come Antropocene da chi e’ pessimista per moda o per natura, e non sono certo intrinseche.

AGW Data Omniclimate Science Skepticism

HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (IV)

Click here for HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (I)
Click here for HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (II)
Click here for HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (III)
Click here for HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (IV)
Click here for Results of HadCRUT Data Rank Analysis (V)

This is the fourth posting in a series analyzing the information that can be obtained from the available HadCRUT data, recently updated to December 2007.

As in the previous blogs, the focus is on rank analysis, since it is widely claimed that global warming can be discerned by the fact that most of the warmest years have occurred very recently.

It is actually possible to obtain a rough indication on what is behind the recorded warming in the HadCRUT data by going one step below the usual globe-averaged, year-averaged figures.

(a) A strong hemispheric component is already visible in the yearly averages of the month-by-month ranks:

Yearly averages of the month-by-month ranks

Note how for example SST/Southern-hemisphere is much more similar to Land/Southern-Hemisphere than to SST/Northern-hemisphere.

(b) Similar considerations apply at a seasonal level. See the graphs for the January-March period:

January-March rankings

Obviously the Jan-Mar period is Southern Summer and Northern Winter. Let’s have a look at the Summer-to-Summer plots then:

Summer-to-summer graphs

I have computed the same graphs for all quarters, and for all seasons.

(c) It always looks more important to be in the same hemisphere, rather than in the same season or the same surface.

But visual inspection may be misleading, so a good round of correlations is in order (for the sake of clarity, the full list is at the end of this entry). These are the results:

(d) Correlation is highest intra-hemispherically (that is, when, say, the Northern Hemisphere’s land temperatures have placed near the top ranks, the NH sea-surface temperatures too have done the same) with a maximum of 98.6% (Southern Hemisphere, local Autumn) and a minimum of around 80% (Northern Hemisphere, local Winter).

(e) Same-season correlations are among the lowest, with a maximum of 74.5% (Spring) and a minimum of 68.8% (Summer).

(f) Among all the season-to-following-season correlations, the lowest values belong to the Oct_Dec-Jan_Mar periods (between 71% for Land, Northern Hemisphere and 80.5% for Land, Southern Emisphere).

(g) There is little, or perhaps even none, appreciable difference between Land and Sea-surface results

Conclusions and working hypotheses for the future will be discussed in next blog in the series.


SH SST/Land (V3)
Jan_Mar: 98.40%
Apr_Jun: 98.58%
Jul_Sep: 98.17%
Oct_Dec: 98.28%

Jan_Mar: 80.89%
Apr_Jun: 93.32%
Jul_Sep: 95.71%
Oct_Dec: 88.70%

Jan_Mar/Apr_Jun: 89.06%
Apr_Jun/Jul_Sep: 89.17%
Jul_Sep/Oct_Dec: 90.54%
Jan_Mar/Oct_Dec: 73.89%
Jan_Mar/Jul_Sep: 76.04%
Apr_Jun/Oct_Dec: 83.51%

Jan_Mar/Apr_Jun: 89.42%
Apr_Jun/Jul_Sep: 91.10%
Jul_Sep/Oct_Dec: 90.55%
Jan_Mar/Oct_Dec: 75.05%
Jan_Mar/Jul_Sep: 81.82%
Apr_Jun/Oct_Dec: 84.84%

Land NH
Jan_Mar/Apr_Jun: 80.78%
Apr_Jun/Jul_Sep: 88.93%
Jul_Sep/Oct_Dec: 85.48%
Jan_Mar/Oct_Dec: 70.99%
Jan_Mar/Jul_Sep: 74.35%
Apr_Jun/Oct_Dec: 79.26%

Land SH
Jan_Mar/Apr_Jun: 92.07%
Apr_Jun/Jul_Sep: 92.39%
Jul_Sep/Oct_Dec: 92.30%
Jan_Mar/Oct_Dec: 80.51%
Jan_Mar/Jul_Sep: 86.31%
Apr_Jun/Oct_Dec: 87.80%

SST Seasonal NH/SH
Winter: 73.52%
Spring: 74.47%
Summer: 68.76%
Autumn: 73.08%

Land Seasonal NH/SH
Winter: 75.87%
Summer: 71.33%
Spring: 78.98%
Autumn: 75.93%

Jan_Mar: 75.03%
Apr_Jun: 79.00%
Jul_Sep: 77.68%
Oct_Dec: 76.93%

Land NH/SH
Jan_Mar : 75.95%
Apr_Jun: 82.84%
Jul_Sep: 77.33%
Oct_Dec: 77.41%:

Omniclimate Science

China: Quasi-Tropical Snowstorm

I know that weather is not climate but this is too good to pass…(thanks to D88 for pointing this out)

The extraordinary 2008 snowstorms in China may have to be remembered also for having reached so far south.

Look at the NOAA’s “current snow” picture for Asia and Europe as it is at the time of writing:

NOAA Current Snow as of Jan 29 2008

The southernmost tongue of white stuff is ominously pointing towards Hong Kong itself. Actually, it can be estimated to have reached the city of Guiyang (26.32N, 106.40E: around 200 miles north of the Tropic of Cancer).

In fact, the current weather forecast for Guiyang is light snow, between 1C and -6C between January 31 and February 2 at least.

Climate-wise, placed at an elevation of 1,100 meters, Guiyang is know for the occasional flurry, although the average January temperature is 10C.