August 18, 2006
Worrisome Trend Lines for Al GoreBy David Runyan
Global warming enthusiasts love to jump to conclusions from sequences of numbers, regardless of their provenance. In the same spirit of reckless conclusion—jumping, why not enjoy ourselves?
First, let's look at the Farmer's Almanac for July 15 of this year. Sunrise was at 5:27 am, sunset at 9:03 pm, so the duration of daylight was 933 minutes. What about the next day, July 16? Sunrise was at 5:28 am, sunset at 9:02 pm, so the duration of daylight was about 931 minutes.
Looks like we were losing about 2 minutes of daylight per day in July. This could be serious.
What if we look at August 15 of this year, a month later? Sunrise was at
When you see a trend where the rate of the trend itself is increasing that way, we say the trend is accelerating. In this case it looks like the loss of daylight time has accelerated from about 2 minutes per day to about 3 minutes per day, and done so in about a month. This gives a rate of acceleration of 1 minute per day per month.
So how many months before we have a day that is zero minutes long?! Well the formula for computing the amount of total change given by an accelerating trend is:
We want to solve for t, the time over which this trend will accumulate so that we go from July's 933 minutes of sunlight to down to 0. So we'll say c = 933, and reorganize the equation to solve for t: c=1/2 at2 becomes t = square root of (2 X 933/1), or 43 months from June, 2006.
So, by about December, 2009, we've got Global Warming pretty well licked, assuming it sort of depends on sunlight!
Somebody better call Al Gore!
Now for some fun with letters: everyone knows that hurricanes and tropical storms get tagged with names that progress through the alphabet each season.
Well, in Just 9 days, we will come to the one year anniversary of the emergence of hurricane 'Katrina' from the mere tropical storm Katrina.
So has this year's K—storm, named 'Kirk' shown up for the party yet? No, and neither have Joyce, Isaac, Helene, Gordon, Florence, Ernesto, or Debby. Do you suppose it was something we said?
Tropical storms Alberto, Beryl, and Chris did briefly show up, but they drank of the intoxicatingly warm tropical waters in moderation, and went home early, and soberly, without becoming hurricanes and doing the knocking—over—the—punchbowl things that hurricanes tend to do.
Bottom line: the number of named storms so far this year, three. Last year at roughly this time, 11.
In 2005 we had 15 hurricanes, and 7 of those were major. This year the latest (revised down twice now) prediction is: 7 hurricanes, 3 of those major. Looks like we are losing 50% of our hurricanes per year! If we started out with 15 in 2005, we will have our last hurricane ever during the season which ends in, ...wait for it — December, 2009! Holy cow!!
Paging Al Gore! Al Gore, call your office immediately ... and get me re—write!
So are either of our fun trends for real? Well, most of us know that the days always get shorter after the summer solstice on June 21 or so, until the winter solstice on about December 21, and then they will start getting longer again, just like every year.
I just picked the right dates to get the trend I wanted to show, and then extrapolated that trend way beyond where it was truly appropriate to do so.
Which brings us to our fun with hurricane letters. Is it real? Well, the situation I described this year is exactly what is happening, and unless 7 hurricanes are spawned in the next 9 days, we are not going to be anywhere near the 'K's' by the end of August like we were in 2005.
Will 2006 be a very light hurricane year? Can't tell for sure yet, since much of the "party action" usually happens after August, but it is looking that way, and to date it certainly has been. But will the trend keep going over the next years — highly unlikely. Again, you can't just take a cherry—picked change in some phenomenon and project it way out into the future like that.
Now I seem to recall a movie Al Gore made — I forget what was it called — was it 'An Incompetent Sooth!'? Anyway, it sure tried hard to say that Global Warming caused Katrina, and the other big storms last year, and that we were going to be having a lot more of them from now on.
Most responsible scientists would say that just as this year's hurricane activity doesn't prove Global Warming is a fiction, last year's didn't prove that it is a fact. But none of those scientists got parts in that Al Gore movie, or got pubished on the front page of any big newspapers, or interviewed on TV networks news, either. That's no doubt why most of you think that Katrina 'proved' Global Warming was real — because you were meant to.
Did you save Al Gore's phone number from before?! Since he likes to pretend he knows all about climate trends, maybe he knows where all the hurricanes are? Maybe we should all call him up and ask him... hey Al, with this terrible increase in hurricane activity you predict — where's 'Waldo'?!