Episode 18: The stupid show

This episode: Climategate again, stupidity from elected officials who are absolutely certainly wrong, against adaptation, and who think their legislative powers can repeal the laws of nature. Also Styrofoam is back, mega-droughts , the loss of Glory, un-skeptical skeptics, and bad reporting from Grist

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  1. Unfair – you refused to entertain the open minded skepticism when you discussed “Global warming and earthquakes”

    Any one can see there is reason for interest, and plausible connection – even geologists know this.

    Sharon Begley, “How Melting Glaciers Alter Earth’s Surface, Spur Quakes, Volcanoes,” Wall Street Journal Online, 9 June 2006.
    Link: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB114981650181275742-sOx58NXvfKz2szefZXutgTSbaDI_20070608.html; and
    Bill McGuire, “Climate Change: Tearing the Earth Apart?,” New Scientist, 26 May 2006,
    Link: http://www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/mg19025531.300

    • But not subduction zone earthquakes (which is what happened in Japan). That is caused by the continuous advancement of the Pacific tectonic plate as it thrusts underneath Japan at the Japan Trench. Climate change and the melting of the ice caps could not cause such an earthquake. Looking back perhaps I didn’t make this very clear. Sorry for that

      As for the other research into this area, I am still skeptical. The mechanism seems plausible, but the evidenced is not yet convincing.

  2. One thing that could have contributed to the Japanese earthquake and climate science could be the isostatic rebound due to the unloading of melting ice in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. As far as I know, there is no evidence to support it as yet and I can’t say if this connection is real or not. The release of pressure vertically on the Eurasian plate by isostatic rebound could have caused the Pacific plate to slip further beneath the Eurasian plate, but this is pure speculation at this point.

    • Yep, that mechanism sounds plausible to a non-geologist like myself. But as you say this is just speculation. But even with that global warming would not have caused the quake (the pacific tectonic plate sliding under Japan did that) but it could affect when exactly the quake occurred, and perhaps the magnitude.

      To be clear I am not saying that global warming could not have contributed the earthquake, I am saying we don’t know and thus should not presume.

  3. It is wonderful to hear some common sense in our mad bad dangerous world.

    Here’s to sanity!

    While I agree that the double standard on truth is annoying, I’ll stick to real dangers – there are plenty of ’em. OTOH, the kind of thing we are seeing is indeed a wakeup call about how bad things can get, and likely will, unless we heed the warning signs. It is sad that a metaphor becomes an accusation as quick as winking when it’s on the “wrong” (right) side.

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