The Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

The Battle Over Climate Change Explained in Three Charts

Climate Change is like an asteroid heading in for a direct hit on Earth.

Obama’s Climate Change Warning (& National Climate Assessment) Doesn’t Touch on the Magnitude of the Threat.

June 18-19, 2014, AUSTIN, Texas — The recent report on human-enhanced climate change points to the problem. The US National Climate Assessment, released May 6, 2014, represents the most comprehensive attempt yet to assess the current effects of human-enhanced climate change on America’s (and the Earth’s) future. Why does confusion persist about the subject? After all, Global Warming /Climate Change have ranked near the top of our Top Word lists for more than a decade.

Perhaps the major difficulty is overcoming the fact that:

  1. Few news reporters are well-versed in technical and scientific communication.
  2. Few scientists are well-versed in communicating effectively to a large public audience in non-scientific terms.
  3. The public is not trained in deciphering the reams of information that presents the case that is being argued.

Therefore, lack of technical communications skills inhibit true understanding of climate change news. As a former university lecturer on Scientific and Technical Communications, I’ve created a few rules to keep close to heart.

Rule No. 1 When Communicating a Scientific Truth Be Sure to Communicate the Whole Truth — The audience instinctively knows when you are leaving out some of the story that you think might confuse the issue.

Well known Fact: The temperatures are now the highest in 1,000 years.

Larger Reality: The global surface temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 2100 years. Scientific and Technical writing professionals would, one hopes, clarify the discussion by writing from the audience’s point-of-view. An educated audience would expect a phrase, such as ‘not in a thousand years’ to mean ‘not ever’. They would likely be concerned if they knew an author to be shading the truth that actually obscures the larger truth.

Suffice to say the global temperature has fluctuated greatly over the last 1200 years as shown in the graphic using four different sources. Also note there was the well-known historical fact of the Little Ice Age, with many early New England documents noting various ‘Year(s) Without Summer(s)”.

 

 Temperature Fluctuation Over Preceding 1200 Years

 

Rule No. 2 Just because any particular analysis might be short-sighted, there is no need for you to be short-sighted also.

Well known Fact: PaleoIndians crossed the Bering Land Bridge to first settle the Americas.

Larger Reality: For the Bering Land Bridge to exist, the sea level had to be about 100 meters (290 feet) LOWER than its current level.

 The Bering Land Bridge About 15,000 BCE

 

The US National Climate Assessment is estimating a one-to-two meter rise by the turn of the 22nd century. Add in the human-enhancement factor and climate change will be even more dramatic (and possibly happen more quickly) than anticipated.

Rule No. 3 In 10,000 BCE, (8,000 BC), New York City was also under a mile (1.6 km) of ice. Jericho was a thriving (albeit small) city at this time. Most people who are aware of this fact, place it in the distant past, say, 1,000,000 years BCE.

Well known Fact (though not true): Climate Change began in the late 20th century OR with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century.

Larger Truth: Climate Change began with the advent of the atmosphere as we know it about 600 million years ago. This atmosphere enabled the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ as millions of life forms suddenly appeared on land.

The climate created by this atmosphere began to change at that time and continues to do so some some 600,000,000 years later though we only have specific details of the last half million years or so, as shown below.

 

 

These are a broad outline of temperature changes over the last 400,000 years as recorded by three different methods. Perhaps the most familiar is the Vostok Ice Core (Antarctica), drilled to a depth of 11,887 feet (3623 m) in 1998.

Conclusion: There are well-known facts that pale before a larger reality. Do not trim your arguments (whatever they be) to exclude the larger reality.

Well Known Fact: Climate Change is happening and its profound effect upon humankind is real. Human-influenced climate change is a new scientific reality

Larger Reality: Climate Change has a detailed in the scientific record for about 4oo,ooo years — and it has been ongoing for about 600,000,000 years.

What was the ongoing debate of our paleoindian ancestors as they watched the megafauna (wooly mammoths, sabre tooth tigers, etc.) disappear as the 5,000 ft (1.6 km) ice cap atop Manhattan melted away beneath their feet?

The paleoindians had it within their power to preserve the megafauna if they had known the consequences of their overhunting.  However, the retreating glacier, a consequence of global cooling, was beyond their control.

Today humankind faces the same two problems. And this time we have a bigger stake in the game. If the will is there, we can stop or at least alter the course of the Fourth Great Extinction. And if the will is there, we can curb at least the human-enhancement portion of climate change, whether or not the planet is subject to the larger, longer-term climatic cycles.



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‘Frankenstorm’ accepted into English Lexicon — Though CNN Demurs

Current East Coast ‘Perfect’ Storm storms pushes Frankenstorm  words over qualifying criteria

Austin, Texas,  October 29, 2012 –  ‘Frankenstorm,’ the massive hybrid storm (combination Nor’Easter / Hurricane) currently churning up the Eastern Coast of the United States, has passed the minimum criteria to be considered an English-Language word according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor.  The number of citations of Frankenstorm have increased 1000-fold in the last few days.

The storm is officially dubbed Hurricane Sandy, according to the the National Hurricane Center.  The names of tropical storms are officially maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

The Global Language Monitor since 2003 has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet, in social media, and the global print and electronic media,”  said Paul JJ Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “Frankenstorm crossed those threshold earlier today with tens of thousands of references in the global media.”
One holdout is CNN.  As quoted in the Washington Post:  “Management at the network has issued a directive not to use ‘Frankenstorm,’ on the rationale that the storm is powerful and deadly. ‘Let’s not trivialize it,’ said the directive, according to CNN meteorologist and severe weather expert Chad Myers.”
The naming of hurricanes have been controversial since 1953, when the practice began of using female names in alphabetical order to name the hurricane.  Typically the Atlantic hurricane season produces fewer tropical storms than the twenty-four letters in the English alphabet.  Later the use of female names was considered sexist, or at least quaint. and male names were added in 1979.  Over the years the names have become increasingly diverse.

The names are chosen in advance and rotated every six years.  The Strongest storms, those deemed with historical significance are retired into a sort of Hurricane Hall of Fame.

Click on the adjacent NOAA icon to see the perspective names for all global hurricanes through 2017.   The name Frankenstorm is not on any list.
 The word ‘Frankenstorm’ is a combination or ‘portmanteau’ word linking Mary Shelley’s character from her novel ‘Frankenstein (or the New Prometheus)’ with the word ‘Storm’ from the O.E. ‘storm’.
One of the word storm’s many senses acquired in the Late Middle Ages is  ‘to rage’  might be especially pertinent here.
Mary Shelly, eighteen years old when she began her novel, never actually called him Frankenstein, which was actually the name of the monster’s creator, Dr. Victor Frankenstein.  Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s creation was referred to simply as ‘the monster”.
Internet Meme
Frankenstorm is also at the center of vigorous  internet meme creation.  It appears the the Frankenstorm meme might cross-pollinate with any number of now circulating Internet Memes on the pending Presidential Elections  on November 6th.
About The Global Language Monitor
“We Tell the World What the Web is Thinking.”  Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogs the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email editor@GlobalLanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.



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Snowmageddon & Snowpocalypse accepted into English Lexicon

Recent East Coast storms push words over qualifying criteria

Austin, Texas,  February 10, 2010 – Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse have been accepted into English language lexicon, after an unusual string of recent East Coast blizzards pushed the words over the qualifying criteria, according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor.

“Though there is no official agency for accepting new words (or neologisms) into the English Lexicon, the Global Language Monitor since 2003 has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet and in the global print and electronic media,”  said Paul J Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse both crossed those threshholds earlier today with a reference to the string of East Coast blizzards, and are currently being widely used in the global media in dozen of languages today.”

The word ‘Snowpocalypse’ is a combination of ‘portmanteau’ word linking ‘snow’ with ‘apocalypse’.  Apocalypse, itself, can be traced to the ancient Greek word apokalyptein meaning to ‘uncover, restore, reveal or disclose’ (hence the name of the final book of the New Testament).  ‘Snowpocalypse’  has hundreds of thousands of citation over the last few years, first exemplified use by Playstation gamers in early 2006.  The words apocalypse and apocalyptic are both frequent expressions of the global media especially when used in reference to any cataclysmic event such as the South Asian Tsunami or the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, as GLM then noted.

‘Snowmageddon’ is another portmanteau word that ultimately can be traced to  the same source. The Greek word Harmagedōn and its Hebrew counterpart har məgiddô both refer to the ancient settlement of Megiddo, which stood astride important Middle Eastern trade routes and was subsequently the scene of many important historical battles.  The word ‘Armageddon’ has come to be associated in the popular mind with any end-of-the-world scenario, such as portrayed in the movie of the same name, starring Bruce Willis.  ‘Snowmageddon’ has hundreds of thousands of usages over the last few years, exemplified by its publication in The Oregonian in December 2006 (and recent remarks by President Obama earlier this month).



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Snowmageddon accepted into English

Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse


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accepted into English language lexicon

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Recent East Coast storms push words over qualifying criteria

Austin, TX February 10, 2010 – Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse have been accepted into English language lexicon, after an unusual string of recent East Coast blizzards pushed the words over the qualifying criteria, according to Austin-based Global Language Monitor.

“Though there is no official agency for accepting new words (or neologisms) into the English Lexicon, the Global Language Monitor since 2003 has been recognizing new words once they meet the criteria of a minimum number of citations across the breadth of the English-speaking world, with the requisite depth of usage on the Internet and in the global print and electronic media,”  said Paul J Payack, president and chief word analyst of GLM.  “Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse both crossed those threshholds earlier today with a reference to the string of East Coast blizzards, and are currently being widely used in the global media in dozen of languages today.”

The word ‘Snowpocalypse’ is a combination of ‘portmanteau’ word linking ‘snow’ with ‘apocalypse’.  Apocalypse, itself, can be traced to the ancient Greek word apokalyptein meaning to ‘uncover, restore, reveal or disclose’ (hence the name of the final book of the New Testament).  ‘Snowpocalypse’  has hundreds of thousands of citation over the last few years, first exemplified use by Playstation gamers in early 2006.  The words apocalypse and apocalyptic are both frequent expressions of the global media especially when used in reference to any cataclysmic event such as the South Asian Tsunami or the inundation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, as GLM then noted.

‘Snowmageddon’ is another portmanteau word that ultimately can be traced to  the same source. The Greek word Harmagedōn and its Hebrew counterpart har məgiddô both refer to the ancient settlement of Megiddo, which stood astride important Middle Eastern trade routes and was subsequently the scene of many important historical battles.  The word ‘Armageddon’ has come to be associated in the popular mind with any end-of-the-world scenario, such as portrayed in the movie of the same name, starring Bruce Willis.  ‘Snowmageddon’ has hundreds of thousands of usages over the last few years, exemplified by its publication in The Oregonian in December 2006 (and recent remarks by President Obama earlier this month).

About the Global Language Monitor

Austin-Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English.

English has become the first truly global language with some 1.58 billion speakers as a first, second or auxiliary language. Paul JJ Payack examines its impact on the world economy, culture and society in A Million Words and Counting (Citadel Press, New York, 2009).

The current estimate for the number of words in the English Language stands at 1,003,322.

For more information, call 1.925.367.7557, send email to info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.



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Katrina: Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References

Media Abounds With Apocalyptic-type References in Coverage of Katrina

Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima Top List

‘Refugee’ vs. ‘Evacuee’

San Diego, Calif. September 7, 2005. MetaNewswire. In an exclusive analysis by The Global Language Monitor, the worldwide media was found to abound in Apocalyptic-type terminology in its coverage of the unfolding disaster of Hurricane Katrina in the American Gulf States. Using its proprietary PQI (Predictive Quantities Indicator) algorithm, GLM found the ominous references to include: Disaster, Biblical, Global Warming, Hiroshima/Nuclear bomb, Catastrophe, Holocaust, Apocalypse, and End-of-the-World.

“These alarmist references are coming across the spectrum of print and electronic media, and the internet,” said Paul JJ Payack, president of GLM. “The world appears stunned that the only remaining super power has apparently been humbled, on its own soil, by the forces of nature.”

The global media are mesmerized by the constant bombardment of television images of apparently rampaging, out-of-control elements, apparently in control of a good part of New Orleans, as well as the inability of the authorities to keep their own people fed, sheltered, evacuated, and, even, from dying on the street.

‘Refugee vs. ‘Evacuee’

GLM’s analysis found, for example, that the term for the displaced, refugees, that is usually associated with places like the Sudan and Afghanistan, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral ‘evacuees,’ which was cited as racially motivated by some of the Black leadership. Accordingly, most of the major media outlets in the U.S. eliminated the usage of the word ‘refugees’ with a few exceptions, most notably, the New York Times.

The September 3 edition of The Times (London) has a story to illustrate the current state of affairs. The head: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age.”

The first 100 words sum up the pervasive mood found in the GLMs analysis of the Global Media.

“AMERICA comes to an end in Montgomery, Alabama.For the next 265 miles to the Gulf Coast, it has been replaced by a dangerous and paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape, short of all the things fuel, phones, water and electricity needed to keep the 21st century switched on. By the time you reach Waveland, Mississippi, the coastal town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone. “

According to GLM’s analysis, the most frequently used terms associated with Hurricane Katrina in the global media with examples follow. The terms are listed in order of relative frequency.

  • Disaster — The most common, and perhaps neutral, description. Literally ‘against the stars’ in Latin. Example: ” Disaster bares divisions of race and class across the Gulf states”. Toronto Globe and Mail.
  • Biblical — Used as an adjective. Referring to the scenes of death, destruction and mayhem chronicled in the Bible. ” …a town of 6,800 where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation”. (The Times, London)
  • Global Warming — The idea that the hand of man was directly responsible for the catastrophe, as opposed to the more neutral climate change. “…German Environmental Minister Jrgen Trittin remains stolid in his assertion that Hurricane Katrina is linked to global warming and America’s refusal to reduce emissions.” (Der Spiegel)
  • Hiroshima/Nuclear Destruction — Fresh in the mind of the media, following the 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour shows the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. (Associated Press).
  • Catastrophe — Sudden, often disastrous overturning, ruin, or undoing of a system. “In the Face of Catastrophe, Sites Offer Helping Hands”. (Washington Post)
  • Holocaust — Because of historical association, the word is seldom used to refer to death brought about by natural causes. ” December’s Asian catastrophe should have elevated “tsunami” practically to the level of “holocaust” in the world vocabulary, implying a loss of life beyond compare and as callous as this might make us seem, Katrina was many things, but “our tsunami” she wasn’t. (Henderson [NC] Dispatch)
  • Apocalypse — Referring to the prophetic visions of the imminent destruction of the world, as found in the Book of Revelations. ” Call it apocalyptic. Whatever you want to call it, take your pick. There were bodies floating past my front door. ” said Robert Lewis, who was rescued as floodwaters invaded his home. (Reuters)
  • End of the World — End-time scenarios which presage the Apocalypse. ” “This is like time has stopped Its like the end of the world.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Then there are those in the media linking Katrina with the direct intervention of the hand of an angry or vengeful God, though not necessarily aligned with Americas enemies. “The Terrorist Katrina is One of the Soldiers of Allah, But Not an Adherent of Al-Qaeda,” was written by a high-ranking Kuwaiti official, Muhammad Yousef Al-Mlaifi, director of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Endowment’s research center. It was published in Al-Siyassa. (Kuwait).

List of Top Ten Hurricanes

Etymology of the Name Katrina > Catriona > Katherine

Top Ten Disasters in US History

The Climate Change Question

Retired Hurricane Names

Future Hurricane Names (Global)

Note: Hurricane Alpha has now been named marking the busiest Atlantic Hurricane season on record … therefore the tropical ‘events’ were named beta, then gamma, delta … and it seemed they would go on through the Greek Alphabet. Here’s the entire Greek Alphabet:

 

Katrina Disaster Buzzword Explainer

San Diego, Calif. September 2, 2005. MetaNewswire. The Global Language Monitorin response to worldwide demand, has created this Hurricane Disaster Buzzword Explainer to help readers understand the many buzzwords, acronyms, and odd turns of phrase that are being employed in relation to the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans as it unfolds.

GLM’s List is an ongoing compilation, updated daily; we welcome contributions from around the globe.

The current list with associated commentary follows:

Acadians — French-speaking people who were expelled from Nova Scotia exactly 250 years ago and settled in the bayou. Subject of the epic poem, Evangeline, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Cajun.

Army Corps of Engineers — The USACE is responsible for investigating, developing and maintaining the nation’s water and related environmental resources.

Astrodome — The first enclosed stadium in the US; refugees from the SuperDome will be transported 350 miles to the Astrodome.

Bayou — A slow moving stream or river that runs through the marshlands surrounding New Orleans; home of Cajun Culture.
Big Easy — The nickname for the city of New Orleans, from the laidback lifestyle one finds there.

Breach — Sudden overpowering of a levee, or a floodwall, that allows water to seep or rush in.

Cajun — Literally, Louisianan who descends from French-speaking Acadians, who in 1755 were expelled from Nova Scotia.

Category — The intensity of a hurricane using various measurements including velocity of sustained wind. Categoies range from 1 (weakest) to 5 (strongest). Katrina peaked at Category 5.

Climate Change — The warming of the Earths atmosphere due to natural cycles (politically sensitive; believed to be primarily outside the control of man.) See Global Warming.

Creole — Derives from the Latin creare, meaning “to create.” By the nineteenth century, black, white, and mixed-race Louisianans used the term to distinguish themselves from foreign-born and Anglo-American settlers.

Cyclone — A developing tropical storm, rotating counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. Often confused with but NOT a tornado.

Eye — The center of the hurricane where the skies are clear and the wind is nearly calm.

FEMA — Federal Emergency Management Agency, branch of the US Homeland Security Department. FEMA coordinates the US Federal government’s response to national disasters.

Floating Casinos — Casinos located along the Mississippi coast bringing an annual average revenue of $2.7 billion a year to that state.

Flood Control — The building of levees, pumping stations, sea walls, etc. to keep a city safe from flooding.

Flood Stage — Flood stage is reached when the water in a stream or river over-tops the banks or levees along the banks.

Flood Wall — Narrow, steel and concrete barrier erected to keep the Mississippi River out of New Orleans.

French Quarter — The original living area of the city, now known for Jazz, Cajun cuisine, and Carnival. Located at the highest point of the city.

Global Warming — In theory, the warming of the Earths atmosphere caused primarily by human use of fossil fuels (Politically sensitive; believed to be primarily in the control of man.) See Climate Change.

Hurricane Names — Hurricanes have been named since 1953. Currently, the World Meteorological Organization maintains the alphabetically sorted list of alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired.

Hurricane — A tropical cyclone with a sustained surface wind is 74 mph (118 kmh) or more. A hurricane is called a typhoon in the Pacific Ocean.

Hurricane Scale — See Categories.

Hurricane Season — The hurricane season in the Atlantic runs from June 1 to November 30; in the Eastern Pacific, the season begins on May 15 and ends on November 30.

Hurricane Watch/Warning — An official warning that a hurricane is expected to hit a specific area of the coast with 36 hours (watch) or within 24 hours (warning).

Isobar — Isobars around a cyclone are lines on a map that signify the same barometric pressure.

Katrina — The 11th tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

Knot — Wind speed equal to 1.15 Miles Per Hour (MPH) or 1.9 Kilometers Per Hour (KM/HR).

Lake Pontchatrain — Actually, an arm of the sea that borders on New Orleans. Lake Pontchatrain is half the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Levee — Colossal earthen barriers erected to keep water out of the city. Once breeched, levees hinder relief efforts by holding the water inside the city. New Orleans has 350 miles of hurricane levees; they were built to withstand a fast-moving Category 3 storm. Katrina was a Category 4+ storm.

National Guard — Military units organized at the state level to protect the citizens of an individual state.

Norlins — Local pronunciation of the name of the city of New Orleans.

Public Health Emergency — Cholera and typhoid are among the concerns caused by contaminated water.

Pumping Stations — Massive, yet old and inefficient pump houses that would keep any seepage out of New Orleans.

Recovery — To recover the dead after search and rescue operations are complete.

Relief and Response Effort — To provide food, medical supplies and shelter to refuges of a disaster.

Sandbag — Three- to twenty-thousand pound burlap-type containers dropped from Chinook helicopters to plug breaches in levee.

Saffir-Simpson Scale — Used to give an estimate of potential damage and flooding along the coast. Wind speed is the determining factor in the scale. See Category.

Search and Rescue — To search for survivors.

Storm Surge — Sudden rising of the sea over its usual level, preceding the arrival of a hurricane. The Thirty-foot surge on the Mississippi coastline was the highest ever recorded for North America.

Superdome — Home to the New Orleans Saints football team, the Sugar Bowl and numerous professional football championships (Super Bowls).

Tropical Depression — An area of intense thunderstorms becomes organized into a cyclone. Maximun sustained winds reach 34 knots. There is at least one ‘closed’ isobar with a decrease in barometric pressure in the center of the storm.

Tropical Storm — Sustained winds increase to up to 64 knots and the storm begins to look like a hurricane.

Vertical Evac — Vertical evacuation, taking refuge in the topfloors of a high-rise building. In this case, this sort of evacuation often proved fatal.

 

 
For more information, call 1.512.815.8836, email info@LanguageMonitor.com, or visit www.LanguageMonitor.com.



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