Quote of the Day
Her favorite position was beside herself, and her favorite sport was jumping to conclusions.
— Danny Kaye, describing a woman he knew. I often meet people like this – they wear me out.
I have lunch with all sorts of people. Occasionally, I end up sitting with a climate change denier, which happened today. Usually, I do not say anything because I really do not want an argument.
Today, I decided to mention Figure 1, which summarizes a set of measurements made since 1900 that show that sea level is rising. I then asked the climate change denier if they can explain the fact that sea level is rising –a fact has been confirmed by multiple measurements taken at multiple sites over more than 100 years.
Some people try to dispute the measurement and say it cannot be correct. I simply tell them that the data has been consistent between the numerous groups that perform the measurement, and this should minimize the possibility of systematic and random errors. I often mention that we have excellent evidence that there is a massive amount of glacial melt water entering the oceans (see this post) and that this water is one cause of the sea level rise.
Today, the climate denier decided not to refute the sea level data and changed his argument by saying that the climate may be changing, but no one can prove that it is because of human-related causes. The denier attributed the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels to natural events like volcanic eruptions. I then pointed out we have isotopic measurements that show that the CO2 rise is because of burning fossil fuels (see this post) and cannot be from geological causes. This fact bothered him – I do not think I will need to listen to any more climate denial at lunch.
I have to say that Minnesota's climate does seem different than when I was a boy – the outdoor hockey season is clearly shorter.