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December 24, 2006 2:52 AM   Subscribe

ThreatDown! Scientists and other liberals reporting BEARS no longer hibernating in Spain! Global warming deniers, however, determined to continue their hibernation.
posted by orthogonality (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
That is some of the strongest evidence for global warming I've ever heard ursine.
posted by hal9k at 3:46 AM on December 24, 2006 [3 favorites]


Bears in Spain hibernate? I think they hang out often in Chueca at certain bars even in the middle of winter.
posted by JJ86 at 3:51 AM on December 24, 2006


With all this extra free time, there's no telling what curious, and unforgivably heinous, acts these lumbering behemoths will unleash upon humanity.

I know some of the bearanistas with their pro-bear agendas might claim this is simply a product of global warming and isn't the first move in an intricate bear plot to seize control of the world's economic and governmental institutions, but these bearpologists aren't listening to their guts.

If we don't do something, and do it quickly, these Godless killing machines will come for our daughters and force them into bizarre ritualistic circus rape scenarios.
posted by The God Complex at 4:09 AM on December 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Global warming, ursoid it seems.
posted by crispynubbins at 4:15 AM on December 24, 2006


It's curious that some Russian scientists actually think we're on the verge of a new ice age.

The underlying hypothesis is greenhouse gases aren't responsible for warming currently being observed, rather changes in the suns output are. Under this model the suns output, currently increasing, is projected to plummet in six or seven years.
posted by Mutant at 4:24 AM on December 24, 2006


Also from The Independent...
posted by Shanachie at 5:41 AM on December 24, 2006


Mutant, couple points on the Russian sun theory:

According to PMOD at the World Radiation Center there has been no increase in solar irradiance since at least 1978 when satellite observations began. This means that for the last thirty years, while the temperature has been rising fastest, the sun has shown no trend. Obviously, there is more to climate change than just the sun.

See also The lure of solar forcing.

What the Russians don't explain is why greenhouse gases don't cause global warming. The science on that is so well established from observable evidence that anyone who rejects it needs a seriously good reason to do so (and probably would win a Nobel Prize).
posted by stbalbach at 6:15 AM on December 24, 2006


Wow, that's scary news. The world is at sixes and sevens ... now the humans are going into hibernation.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:17 AM on December 24, 2006


There's only one explanation -- the bears have entered into a vast left-wing conspiracy with Michael Moore and Hilary Clinton to make George W. Bush look bad and impose measures to ruin the US economy!

Seriously, that's just about how those people think.
posted by clevershark at 6:24 AM on December 24, 2006


It's not global warming, it's all the laws passed by the Zapatero government that abolished the siesta, hibernation, and underweight bears.

The new behaviour of Spanish bears is therefore not signalling an environmental catastrophe, on the contrary it's indicative of a healthy neo-socialist-capitalist drive to consume more, never go to bed, and work all the time.
posted by pleeker at 6:34 AM on December 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


stbalbach: I'm not sure I accept their science and it isn't my field anyway, but I do like to look at interesting and alternative views. I can't find a link at present, but I've read that many Russian scientists working in geology don't accept Peak Oil either.
posted by Mutant at 6:59 AM on December 24, 2006


Peak Oil, well, so long as you accept oil is a finite resource, Peak Oil is a mathematical and physical certainty, it's just a question of when. The problem is the data about oil reserves is very controversial and political, so you get a lot of different points of view. But in the end does it matter? If we don't run out of oil first, we'll eventually burn through some other resource that will be equally catastrophic, the earth can't continue to grow in population and use up resources unchecked forever.
posted by stbalbach at 7:49 AM on December 24, 2006


stbalbach has it.

In fact the theory behind solar flux variations and its influence on our climate is not new. Friis-Christiansen and K. Lassen, two Danish scientists, in the early 90's were among the first who discussed the issue. Nowadays, we have very detailed and accurate measurements of solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere from satellites (the other NASA major accomplishement) which show that over 20-30 years there has been no significant change in the radiation fluxes but there has been significant concurrent surface warming. More details on this from realclimate.
posted by carmina at 7:52 AM on December 24, 2006


I wouldn't dismiss Fred Singer - I share his contempt for modelling. You may have noticed that he admits humanity is having an effect on climate - hardly denial. Like many on the hard science side, he wants facts. And you want to be careful taking the 'hockey team's' word on this subject - they have a vested interest.
But - the bears know.
Loved the cartoons - thanks for pointing the way.
posted by Cennad at 8:16 AM on December 24, 2006


Others are a lot more pessimistic about the future of species: it's not only the bears or the penguins, but start counting. A million species (!) will be affected by 2050 by global warming:
Outside of the small group of researchers working directly on the impacts of climate change to species diversity, "the numbers will come as a huge shock," said Thomas.

Hopefully the new IPCC report (due out next year) will contain many more studies like that, on the impacts of global warming rather than just the science that explains it, so perhaps, maybe, hopefully, the public and its administration will start paying attention.

Cennad,

Fred Singer? Isn't he the same guy who dismissed CFC and ozone depletion connections? C'mon now. Please note the conflict of interest accusations on the same page. He has dismissed himself and his credibility.
posted by carmina at 8:52 AM on December 24, 2006


Isn't that theory called global dimming? That we're screwing up the atmosphere in two different ways, one hot and one cold, and and currently they're balancing out a bit and "solving" global warming would cause the temperatures to actually drop.
posted by smackfu at 9:06 AM on December 24, 2006


No smackfu. Global dimming is a real effect alright and has to do with the fact that aerosols in the atmosphere (pollution) absorb and refract sunlight (radiation) which means that less radiation reaches the surface thus reducing the surface warming. However, this is a small effect but also the radiation that remains in the atmosphere warms the air near the surface reducing the cooling that reduces the warming that is called global warming. Are you with me? So, dimming and warming are not mutually exclusive. Global dimming is vastly misunderstood and there is some debate in the community. Some, IMO erroneously, have talked about global brightening recently. I believe they are overestimating the phenomenon because they did only local studies and not really global analyses (probably much more detail than you asked for... sorry).
posted by carmina at 9:28 AM on December 24, 2006


Even Dr. Singer agrees that it's getting hotter down here:
"These measurements show that the atmospheric warming, such as it is, is extremely slight -- a great deal less than any of the models predicts, and in conflict also with observations of the surface."
posted by owhydididoit at 9:49 AM on December 24, 2006


Man, will I be glad when this whole Global Warming/Dimming/Whatever fad runs its course.

When I was growing up we had good old fashioned Global Thermonuclear War for everyone to be hysterical about for years on end. It was great. You could wake up every morning and pretty much tell right away whether you were a cloud of rapidly expanding radioactive dust or not. Good times.

After the USSR fell apart (which, ironically, increased the chance of a nuclear exchange) everyone got bored with that. We had a flirtation with giant space rocks obliterating all life on the planet, but it just didn't have the same appeal. For one thing it only appears to happen every X million years or so, so it was hard to get worked up about.

Then there was the Ozone Layer. Anyone remember that? Big hole over the Antarctic, absolutely caused by humans and only fixable by us? That was pretty embarrasing when it started shrinking on its own. The less said about that the better.

So we moved on to pandemics. Those were good too, but got oversold. After a decade of Imminent World Wide Death By Infectious Disease, you just couldn't help but notice that it wasn't happening, even on a small scale. Yeah, the movement lives on but let's face it "A bunch of birds have this disease and it COULD cross over to humans!" sounds more like a grade-B movie plot than a global crisis.

And now we have Global Weather patterns. I have to admit that it's shown some serious spunk so far: to even take it seriously you have to believe that someone, somewhere, can predict the weather. But it seems to have gotten past that initial hurdle and has moved on to the wider spheres of the pro-Earth and anti-Earth movements. My guess is that Global Warming only has a few northern hemisphere winters left as a trend -- the cognitive dissonance of worrying about the Earth heating up while freezing your ass off will drain the vitality of the panic, regardless of whos weather predictions turn out to be correct in the long run.

The question is, how will humans next pretend that we have control over our destiny as a species? Genetic Engineering is a comer -- only the awkwardness of having the far left and the far right in total agreement on the issue is holding it back. Maybe Declining Worldwide Birthrates. Or maybe something tectonic -- a few big earthquakes and I'm sure we can all get worked up about Massive Mantle Corrections. It has that satisfying "These Are The End Times" feel about it with some vaguely scientific backing.

In any case, I'm definitely tired of Global Warming. If someone could hurry up and get on with popularzing the Next Great Threat To Mankind, I would greatly appreciate it.
posted by tkolar at 9:49 AM on December 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Heh. I remember how worried we were about those huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Who would have guessed at the time how harmless they turned out to be?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:01 AM on December 24, 2006


In any case, I'm definitely tired of Global Warming.

So are the people of Lohachara, I imagine.
posted by homunculus at 10:22 AM on December 24, 2006


Whenever everyone agrees about something I always think of Will Rogers "...98 per cent of all predictions are wrong...".

Anyone else recall Newsweek's predictions of global cooling back in the 70's?.

Lot's of the same language is being used today some thirty years later: A rather curious type of deja-vu.
posted by Mutant at 10:30 AM on December 24, 2006


In any case, I'm definitely tired of Global Warming.
So are the people of Lohachara, I imagine.


Yeah, the people on Santorini 3500 years ago lost their home to Massive Mantle Corrections. It was sad.
posted by tkolar at 10:35 AM on December 24, 2006


I'm moving off-planet to space.
posted by humannaire at 10:57 AM on December 24, 2006


2 Peter 3:10:

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
posted by dropkick at 11:28 AM on December 24, 2006


Hey dropkick, back to self-link, spam and get banned again? Merry Christmas!
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 12:43 PM on December 24, 2006


The solution to this problem is not a reduction in greenhouse gasses, it's a Bear Patrol.
posted by tehgubner at 1:50 PM on December 24, 2006


Then there was the Ozone Layer. Anyone remember that? Big hole over the Antarctic, absolutely caused by humans and only fixable by us? That was pretty embarrasing when it started shrinking on its own.

There was that little matter the worldwide ban on CFCs which had been causing the destruction of the ozone layer.
posted by deanc at 2:28 PM on December 24, 2006


There are bears in Spain?
posted by deborah at 2:34 PM on December 24, 2006


There are bears in Spain?
posted by deborah at 10:34 PM GMT


What was the point of typing that?
What sort of a contribution do you think it makes?
What is it about Spain that makes it an unlikely location for bears?
In short, will you let us know each & every time something surprises you about the fauna of another country?

Sheesh, maybe it's just Seasonal Crabbiness Disorder, but I'm noticing too much fuckwittery today. Some things cannot pass without the stoopid stick being sharpened, inserted and twirled.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:26 PM on December 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


CORRECT:
Global warming exists because [insert science here]

INCORRECT:
Global warming exists because [insert anecdote here]


INCORRECT:
[anything] because [insert link to The Independent that backs up argument]

Global warming is definitely real, but I've kind of had it with "my grandma says its warmer this winter" kind of "evidence."

And The Independent... wow. The main article isn't too bad, but that other one about the island that's linked in the comments, that kind of "journalism" would be embarassing on a high school paper.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:52 PM on December 24, 2006


Global warming exists because I heard that there are these dudes that totally get drunk and light their farts. I think it was like a Jackass stunt or something. But anyway, there were all these kids who saw it and thought 'Woah, cool! Now I wanna light my farts on fire as well'. And then some other kids who hadn't seen Jackass but heard that their friends were doing started trying it as well. Now there is all these people out their lighting their farts on fire.

Now we have global warming. 't's true. I read about it somewhere.
posted by quin at 6:26 PM on December 24, 2006


Then there was the Ozone Layer. ... That was pretty embarrassing when it started shrinking on its own. The less said about that the better.

I do not get it. Have you missed the Montreal protocol? That is why the ozone hole is shrinking but further monitoring is essential. Actually this is a heartwarming success story of governments actually following scientific evidence and acting in concert and in time. Now, oil industry is a tad more difficult target than the hair spray manufacturers... Good thing the trends for straight hair (not those poofy dos of the 60s) prevailed. Yay for straight hair.

And now we have Global Weather patterns. I have to admit that it's shown some serious spunk so far: to even take it seriously you have to believe that someone, somewhere, can predict the weather.

Major faux pas, tkolar. Weather is a whole different thing from Climate. I will skip the tutorial, but read up on that. We cannot predict the weather after 5 days but we can predict the climate after 100 years. Really. And seriously. A simple reason (and perhaps a little simplistic) is that when we talk about climate we talk about averages (in the probabilistic sense). When you take a long-term average some of the annoying non-linear terms (that are present in weather prediction systems) drop out. They become an insignificant contribution to the mean. Meteorologists often point out that "climate is what you expect and weather is what you get." Or, as one middle school student put it, "Climate helps you decide what clothes to buy, weather helps you decide what clothes to wear."
posted by carmina at 7:31 PM on December 24, 2006


There was that little matter the worldwide ban on CFCs which had been causing the destruction of the ozone layer.

You mean the ban that, due to the extremely long atmospheric lifespan of CFCs, was expected to start having an effect about 10 years from now?

Not that banning CFCs was a bad thing. But claiming that the ban directly led to the current ozone situation is not backed up by the science that gave us the ban initially.
posted by tkolar at 10:37 PM on December 24, 2006


Lifespan, right. Lifespan counts for concentrations of CFCs released in the 50's as well as concentrations of CFCs that were released in the 80's. Timeseries plots show that concentrations are (very slowly) decreasing. Besides, we did not see any dramatic change in the ozone hole either. It all changes slowly, but consistently.
posted by carmina at 8:30 AM on December 25, 2006


Actually CFC was released as early as the late 30's and with a residence time being 50yrs approximately we have been experiencing reduced concentrations for at least a decade now.
posted by carmina at 8:34 AM on December 25, 2006


There are bears in Spain?

The bears in Spain stay mainly in the plain.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:54 AM on December 25, 2006


I pay the homer tax, let the bears pay the bear tax.
posted by subaruwrx at 12:54 PM on December 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


tkolar sez: We had a flirtation with giant space rocks obliterating all life on the planet, but it just didn't have the same appeal. For one thing it only appears to happen every X million years or so, so it was hard to get worked up about.

Actually, that, like the nuclear threat is still current:


posted by Listener at 3:08 PM on December 25, 2006


argh.
2029 asteroid threat
posted by Listener at 3:10 PM on December 25, 2006


carmina:

I won't pretend to be an expert on the topic, but I was referrring to this article, and in particular a paper referenced by the paper it references.

In the sub-referenced paper, Hadjinicolaou and company present a model where the stratospheric ozone layer recovery from 1994 to 2003 is entirely accounted for by atmospheric transport changes. No chemical changes required.

In any case, the point of my original post was not that worldwide threats to humanity are not real, nor that they somehow are no longer threats when they no longer grace the front of Newsweek. My point is that the
immediacy and direness of these threats are routinely overbown, and that we consistently realize years later that we didn't have a very good understanding of the issue in the first place. But we don't care: we're already on to the next Big Thing.

On a more philosophic note, I believe that all humans are aware that our species could be wiped out at any time with a quick flick of the cosmic wrist. Instead of dealing with that dire reality, we do our best to focus on whatever limited threat grabs our attention at the moment.

Today it is Global Climate Change. Tommorow it will be something else.
posted by tkolar at 9:14 PM on December 25, 2006


Bear eats house
posted by homunculus at 12:33 PM on December 26, 2006


tkolar,

The NASA website explains that it is only a portion of the atmospheric O3 that is restored faster than expected (lower stratosphere), but not the total. Besides the wind patterns change from year to year such that to explain some variations. Bottom line: there is no contradiction with the scientific evidence of O3 depletion by CFCs. And the Montreal Protocol addressed that.

This is a very interesting discussion, tkolar, and I sincerely thank you, but people here on Mefi might not appreciate the level of technicality. Do you mind if we take it on email? We could discuss the Hajinicolaou paper there too.

My only question is this: if a well respected mechanic (or maybe several) told you that your car is going kaput soon if you don't fix something, would you spend the extra cash to do it? I do not share your opinion that threats are overblown, nor do I personally know of other situations that we were warned about "Big Things" as a human race and it turned out peachy...

Anyway, thank you again.
posted by carmina at 9:43 PM on December 26, 2006


but people here on Mefi might not appreciate the level of technicality.

Sure they would. Please, carry on.
posted by homunculus at 10:11 PM on December 26, 2006


Good lord, dash_slot, it was an off-the-cuff silly remark that didn't deserve the ire you have heaped upon it. Go have a wank or a drink or whatever it is you do to relax. You might want to step away from the internets while you're at it; you're obviously taking them way too seriously.
posted by deborah at 10:56 PM on December 26, 2006


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