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The butterfly no longer flaps its wings

One of the key techniques in the understanding of our world is the use of chaos theory. Many of you will be familiar with the common question: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas? What many of you may not be aware of is that is the title of a speech by Ed Lorenz. Dr. Lorenz passed away last week, a victim of cancer. We grieve the passing of this scientist and wish his family well.

Dr. Lorenz work on chaos theory is a key component of the way that we understand our environment. His work was critical to meteorology today. You can read Wikipedia’s excellent write up of Dr. Lorenz and chaos theory.

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Global Warming May Reduce Carbon Sink Capacity In Northern Forests

ScienceDaily – January 3, 2008

The prediction of what will happen as carbon dioxide increases in our atmosphere is based on many complicated assumptions. One of those assumptions is that the northern forests will continue to capture (or sink) CO2 in the same manner as before. We now have evidence that increasing temperatures reduces this sinking process meaning the models may be flawed and CO2 will accumulate at a faster rate.

According to the study, the warmth of spring and autumn play a significant role in the amount of carbon that is released and captured. In the spring, the fast growth of the forests sinks a great deal of carbon, this is accelerated with the warmer climate. However, the warmer autumn means that the decomposition rates stay higher during a time when the greenery is not growing quickly and thus is a net source of carbon.

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Global warming melts Andean glaciers toward oblivion

Reuters – June 7, 2007

You will see different versions of this article floating around the internet.  This article discusses the major impact and hardship that will befall the people of Bolivia due to the melting of their small glaciers that are in the Andean mountains.  These glaciers are melting, so the story claims, because of global warming.

If you have read this site for any length of time, you know that some people believe a myriad of evils has been delivered on us (or will be delivered) due to climate change. I have written of several examples of this (here and here and here).  I don’t discount that these glaciers may be melting since the article gives us data to support that claim.  I also do not refute that this will cause these people harm – in fact, my heart goes out to them in their plight.

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Is butterfly evidence of global warming?

News Shopper – February 25, 2007

I post this article, not because I think it is correct, but rather as an indication that that once a premise is started it is easy to find empirical evidence that appears relevant but is not.  Science should teach us to disregard aberrations and focus only on reliable and repeatable trends.  Finding a butterfly is not relevant.  Noticing that it was warm yesterday (or cold) is not relevant.  Rather, we need to not look at these outliers and focus on hard and repeatable facts.  Otherwise, we will not be able to make intelligent decisions.  Mark this “Ridiculous”

An out-of-season butterfly could be evidence of global warming, according to one resident.

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