Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Please Shut Up!

Barbra Streisand, the singer-come-scientist, has announced that hurricanes Katrina and Rita are absolutely the result of global warming.

“This summer's back-to-back super storms are proof positive we have entered a new period of global warming emergency," Streisand warns. "We are in a global warming emergency state, and these storms are going to become more frequent, more intense," Streisand proclaimed, in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Sawyer somehow missed the opportunity to press Streisand on an important point, failing to note the string of 17 powerful Category 5 storms during Streisand’s lifetime.

Here are of a few of them:

  • In 1947, when Streisand was five years old, a Category 5 hurricane struck the Bahamas with 160 mph winds in 1947
  • In 1950 a Cat 5 hurricane named "Dog," packing 185 mph winds, churned-away in the Atlantic.
  • In 1951 a Cat 5 storm named "Easy" ripped the seas with 160 mph sustained winds. Streisand was 13 years old when "Janet" hit Mexico with 150 mph winds
  • Streisand was 16, when "Cleo" formed with 140 mph
  • At 18, Streisand read news about "Donna" AND "Ethel" -- both storms carried 140 mph winds and formed 9 days apart in 1960
  • In 1961, when Streisand was 19, it happened again: Two Category 5 storms scared the world: "Carla" and "Hattie!" "Carla" maxed out at 175 mph winds
  • And who could forget Hurricane "Camille" -- which smashed into the United States with 190 mph in 1969?

Barbra Streisand is poorly informed, and ought to learn to keep quiet. She sings pretty well, and maybe she’s a fair actress, but she’s no scientist. Her egomaniacal ranting serves no useful purpose.

Leaving behind the crazed ranting of a Hollywood know-it-all, and focusing instead on a real authority, Bob Balling, a world renowned and respected climatologist from Arizona State University, told a meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Tucson a few years ago the following:

"From 1979 to 1990, and during the time of most rapid buildup in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the satellite-based temperature measurements have shown a planetary warming of only 0.001°C (including data from 1991 and 1992 would lower this value because of the cooling effects from the aerosols produced by Mt. Pinatubo). Most of the numerical models of climate suggest that the warming (given the known increase in equivalent CO2) should be of the order of 0.3°C over the same period of time. The satellite data indicate virtually no warming at all, and certainly do not support the claim of accelerated warming in recent decades.

"Very simply, the climate record over the last century, or decade, is not pointing in the direction of a greenhouse apocalypse."

According to an article by the National Academy of Sciences, the “Earth's surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century, and surface temperatures have risen at a substantially greater rate than average in the past two decades. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely because of human activities, for the most part. But it is not known how much of the temperature rise to date is the result of human activities,” [my emphasis] the NAS says, citing an unidentified report. However, the NAS article goes on to say that “[c]limate models do not adequately represent all the processes that contribute to variability of the climate system. A Research Council report,Improving the Effectiveness of Climate Modeling,” identifies the lack of a coherent national climate modeling program and sufficient computing resources and suggests areas for improvement.”

There are many opinions on this subject, and there is no consensus in the scientific community. The quoted material from the above sources contains one opinion that there is no greenhouse catastrophe on the horizon, and the other suggests that man may be having an effect on the gradual warming of the Earth, but admits that the climate models are insufficient.

So far, evidence shows that Barbra Streisand produces a lot of hot air, and scientists just aren’t sure if the activities of humans are affecting the global temperature, or not. However, if the atmosphere is warming, people like Barbra Streisand are certainly contributing to it.

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Anonymous said...

Heeeey, we were just talking about this.

1) Bob Balling is one of those "shills" to use your word.
Dr. Robert Balling:

Exxon Mobil also funds The Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, which published "The Heated Debate," a 1992 book by Dr. Robert Balling, another prominent "greenhouse skeptic."

In a review of Balling's book, Dr. Michael MacCracken, director, U.S. Office of Global Change Research Programs, wrote: "Balling's book is frustrating. Despite its title, the book is clearly not a documentary of the debate that is taking place…Balling sets up a ‘straw man' catastrophist vision in which it is rather easy to punch holes. It would have been much more of a challenge had he taken on the authoritative report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

Balling, based at Arizona State University, has received more than $300,000 in funding from the Western Fuels Association, the British Coal Corporation, Cyprus Minerals and OPEC. His research was funded in part by the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.

Balling is on the board of the Greening Earth Society, a creation of the Western Fuels Association."

2) Hmmmm, this renowned scientist tries to show a trend by citing only 1 decade, and it just so happens that it agrees with him. How very convenient.

Now Shott, you and I have had a back and forth about global warming that ended in a non-conclusion, and I don't intend to relive that debate here. Let's talk about Balling, and more importanly hurricanes.

Note that he says _sattelite_ measurements. As you well know, sattelite measurements are of the atmosphere. On the other hand, surface temperatures have shown a steady increase on land and water.

Now, for hurricanes, which draw their energy from the oceans over which they form, the surface temperature of the ocean is what's important when talking about increasing intensity.

You might find this interesting:

From that article:

"But whether all of this is due to human-induced global warming is still uncertain, said Webster. “We need a longer data record of hurricane statistics, and we need to understand more about the role hurricanes play in regulating the heat balance and circulation in the atmosphere and oceans.”

Let me call your attention to where Webster expresses his uncertainty and says he needs more data. This is the statement of a responsible scientist. It is in sharp contrast to the selective quality of the data Dr. Balling uses to "prove" his hypothesis.

Of course, your examples are just as selective. No one is suggesting that catergory 4 and 5 hurricanes are the result of global warming. It's the increasing frequency of these magnitude hurricanes forming compared to their weaker brethern that has people worried.

Of course, this selective resoning is an effective tool for the right to achieve its objectives (see Intelligent Design, labeling of the MSM as "liberal", abstinence-only education, I think I'm out of room).

That said, your point that Barbra Streisand should shut up is one I wholeheartedly agree with.

Buffalo said...

Actually, she sings really well and is a mediocre actress.

I suppose crying that the sky is falling fulfills a need in this aging diva.

James Shott said...

I really liked Barbra Streisand about 20 years ago. Being a musician, I fully appreciated her truly great talent. I bought her albums. I bought one video of a concert at her home, a rare thing, since she is petrified to perform live. The concert was wonderful.

A disclaimer on the tape package noted that the proceeds would go to opposing nuclear projects, such as power plants and, I suppose, nuclear arms. Fair enough. I don't support her position, but, hey, it's her money, and she can do with it as she pleases. In this case, nuclear power was her target, and I knew that going in.

Some time later, in an interview, she said that that concert had raised a fair amount of money, which instead of using to oppose nuclear power/weapons, she had donated to the Democrat Party to oppose Republican candidates.

From that point on, I have written her off. I no longer go to her movies or buy her albums. She is a liar, and unworthy of my attention.

I believe she is ego-obsessed, so into herself that she no longer thinks like regular people. She has a lot of company among the "beautiful people" of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, who think that because they won an Oscar or and Emmy, or were nominated for some award, or because thousands of people drool over them that what they think about politics or some particular cause matters more than what you or I think.

That's just BS.

Anonymous said...

I think we're close to adding Seann Penn to her ranks. He's ego-obsessed, but I'm not yet aware of major fundraising efforts by him.

What instrument do you play, fellow musician?

James Shott said...

There are quite a few that fit into this category. George Clooney comes immediately to mind. I may put a piece about him up soon.

I started playing drums in the summer before the sixth grade, and still play percussion instruments, primarily congas. But in the sixth grade, I switched to trumpet.

I have a BS in Music Education, so I've played every insturment a little, but trumpet is my primary instrument.

What about you?

James Shott said...


That's a BS in Music Education with an emphasis on instrumental music, and it's "instrument," not "insturment."

Anonymous said...

Guitar and sing. Minor in music (physics major). Trying to pick up the keys, but I work too much now