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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 10/ 1/2009

The Inevitable Doom & Gloom of Global Warming

By Steve Tracton

* Our Full Forecast | Amazing D.C. Sunrise | Condoms & Climate *

Doomsday Graphic by CWG's Steve Tracton

I write this article with extreme trepidation given the flamethrower rhetoric witnessed in this blog and elsewhere regarding the reality-versus-fiction debate surrounding the issue of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW). I am a Ph.D. scientist/meteorologist with an indisputable record of professing that all weather and climate forecasts, projections and/or analyses are characterized by some degree of uncertainty.

After intense introspection, however, I've decided that it's finally time to admit that I am a closet determinist -- I believe that regardless of any evidence to the contrary, AGW is a fact, period. Moreover, I am an unabashed, unrepentant fear-monger, unreservedly convinced that even the most apocalyptic consequences of AGW are unstoppable. The cautious approach of covering one's you know what with a mishmash of qualifiers -- might, could, possibly, maybe, etc. -- is off the table. I don't wish to silence dissent, but the fact of the mater is that this AGW thing is a done deal, and there's no scientifically defensible way to deny it.

I've made up my mind, so don't bother me with facts and the need for critical thinking -- I believe what I believe. And, please don't pester me to explain the reasons behind my heartfelt opinions. At my age it's hard enough just to remember them, let alone also remembering my reasons for them!

I'm fully aware I'll be the target of blogosphere tirades from so-called AGW skeptics, who no doubt will conjure visions of my being hung in effigy (and worse). There is also no doubt that I'll be ridiculed and proclaimed a wing nut even by those who agree with the mainstream scientific consensus that global warming is largely the fault of mankind.

Nevertheless, I'm totally confident that even the most vehement critics of gloom-and-doom scenarios will, inevitably, accept them as self-evident. When that inevitability becomes reality, I promise not to raise myself on a pedestal and shout, "I told ya so." Though a statue on the National Mall in honor of my righteousness would be nice.

So what's in store for us as a result of AGW? Here's a sampling of some of the more bleak impacts...

* As northern countries warm, disease-carrying insects will migrate north, bringing plague and disease with them -- buy your mosquito curtain before it's too late.

*AGW will cause an increase in smog pollution and will intensify pollen allergies and asthma -- oy vey, better stock up on inhalers.

*As ocean temperatures rise, so will the occurrence of more frequent and stronger hurricanes -- at least I won't need a wind tunnel to experience hurricane-force winds.

*Some areas of Earth will become wetter due to AGW; other areas will suffer devastating droughts and heat waves -- time to get a boat; or stockpile bottled water.

*The oceans will turn to acid -- so much for seafood.

*Hotter temperatures will mean larger and more devastating wildfires -- wanted: more Smokey Bears.

*AGW will lead to destruction of agricultural production, depleted water supplies, and the displacement of large segments of Earth's population -- mind your manners along evacuation routes, please.

*The destabilizing effects of AGW on international stability and national security will be comparable to those of nuclear war -- anyone know a good place to duck and cover?... maybe not since an ice-free Antarctica is likely to be the only inhabitable continent by the end of this century.

Is there any way to escape the inevitability of AGW's gloom and doom? Apparently -- and this is for real -- the answer could be birth control. Here, I firmly break the mold of preaching certitude in all things AGW and, for obvious reasons, choose not to go down that road. Talk about throwing gasoline in to the firestorm!

Disclaimer: The views expressed here -- with tongue firmly embedded in cheek -- are my own and do not represent any position of the Washington Post, its news staff or the Capital Weather Gang.

By Steve Tracton  | October 1, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Humor, Tracton  
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Dr. Tracton wrote, "... I believe that regardless of any evidence to the contrary, AGW is a fact, period. Moreover, I am an unabashed, unrepentant fear-monger, ..."

Thank you for your honesty Dr. Tracton. I for one greatly appreciate it and find it refreshing.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 1, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Given your stance, you "believe that regardless of any evidence to the contrary, AGW is a fact", this won't matter one iota (where have I heard that before - proven right once again), but more evidence that Briffa's hockey stick is total bunk. -
Here and here.

A background refresher on the issue is here.

For those of you who do not have a closed mind, happy reading.

Mr. Q.

PS. There was reason he was hiding the raw data. Who would have thunk it?

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 1, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't Matt's lazy mess of anti-science carry the same disclaimer and category list? (Not that anyone would actually read and understand it, as the first comment here indicates.)

Posted by: CapitalClimate | October 1, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

One piece of evidence for AGW...we're getting fewer big winter storms than we used to down here at the fall line. Number of days per year with thunderstorms is also tending to increase.

This winter's El Nino should provide an indicator. If we have less than 10 total inches of snow here, or another 1997-98 type winter, with several huge PLAIN OL' RAIN storms, blame AGW.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 1, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Slow weather day?

Posted by: jburksva | October 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for a thoughtful article. And you are wise to expect the anti-AGW people to jump in with their own experts and links to what they believe is the truth. Let's just hope civility prevails.

Posted by: Alice_Drew | October 1, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This succinctly states why we need an external audit of the climate community. When this attitude preserves, science can not be accomplished in an unbiased manner. A good scientist is a skeptic by nature. The hostility in this field would go away if these scientists would supply open-access to their data and methodology. This new data that is linked by Mr. Q clearly shows why it is important to have open-access publications. While some may dispute the finding of Mr. McIntyre, at least he puts the data out there which lets there be a data-driven discussion rather than a discussion based on headlines from Yahoo!.

Posted by: Tom8 | October 1, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Steve - I am assuming this piece is satirical, and not your actual state of mind on this issue. Correct? I think Tom8 is confused about that.

In other climate news, the New York Times has an interesting discussion about the recent Australian dust storm, and how it relates to climate change, at

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | October 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Give me a break. Here's one for you. Over the past million years the Earth has oscillated between glaciation and conditions similar to today, or even warmer. Ocean levels have varied between being 20 feet higher than they are today to 300 feet lower than they are today with a 1 mile thick layer of ice across N. America and Eurasia.

What does this add up to? The Earth's climate is highly variable. Moreover, this variability, including global warming on multiple occasions have occurred without the help or hindrance of Man, GM, or Escaldes. Friend, it's an act of nature.

Here's something for you to chew on. The glaciers. When most people look at the glaciers they see cold. I don't. I see heat. Lots and lots of heat. Here's why. Accompanying the glaciation process is a reduction in sea level by over 300 feet. Quite literally, the water was moved from the oceans onto the land. From a physics perspective, to me, that ice represents potential energy. To have potential energy, it must have at some time had kinetic energy. Kinetic energy equals heat. Lots and lots of heat. It sure looks to me like in the past the Arctic Ocean became ice free year round so that it could act as an infinite source of moisture during the winter, causing heavy precipitation which caused the ice age. My guess is that the process shut down when the Bering land bridge emerged when sea levels dropped enough, which shut off a source of relatively warm water to the Arctic.

I'm not denying global warming. Quite the contrary, the evidence of wild changes in climate are evident going back hundreds of thousands, even millions of years. However, these changes happened without man. I suggest that you look up in the sky at high noon on a cloudless day and you WILL see the cause of global warming!!!

Posted by: A1965bigdog | October 1, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm really surprised that anyone, especially regular readers of CWG, could take this article as anything but "tongue in cheek" satire!!!!

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | October 1, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Mr. T needs to acquaint himself with Poe's Law as much as Matt needs to do his homework.

Posted by: CapitalClimate | October 1, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Jones claims that he no longer has the raw data used to create the CRU global temperature record. He claims he only has the adjusted data, not the raw data.

If Dr. Jones' work can not be verified/reproduced, then his work needs to be thrown out. And all work based upon his work needs to be discarded as well. Even those of you who believe in the hypothesis of man caused global warming must admit that this is completely unacceptable.

Mr. Q.

Posted by: Mr_Q | October 2, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

CapitalClimate, I see your point in regard to Poe's Law. I gather that for some my disclaimer ( "The views expressed here -- with tongue firmly embedded in cheek --" ) was not sufficient to let on that the article was intentionally satirical - and mockingly so.

Of course the post does not not reflect my real position, namely that there remain significant uncertainties on many aspects of AGW, as is true to some degree with just about everything.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | October 2, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

BTW: I do not disagree at all with Andrew about the importance of population control in regard to climate change (and much more).

However, I believe it's a mistake tactically to raise this politically sensitive concern at this time - before Copenhagen in December. It risks a media and blog frenzy that would unnecessarily dominate the conversation at the expense of the currently most relevant issues.

Posted by: SteveT-CapitalWeatherGang | October 2, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

great funny/sad article. capitalclimate, great link, as always, to that "poe's law" thing. i see this happen all the time with religious fundamentalists: their own serious statements seem like parody.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | October 3, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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