Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weather is not climate 

The view from our camp on December 25, 2006:

December 25, 2006

Same view (at a slightly wider angle) this morning:

December 22, 2009

You can walk on that ice. Actually, you could drive a truck on that ice.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Dec 22, 11:41:00 AM:

Global Warming(tm) may be a problem, but global cooling would kill millions and even a "Little Ice Age" might kill billions.

The ice age is late - the extra CO2 may be the only thing putting it off.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Tue Dec 22, 12:13:00 PM:

Better your truck than mine.
Perhaps that could be defined as a difference between capitalism and socialism/fascism. Capitalism' "I'll drive my truck on the ice when I damn well please." Socialism: "You WILL drive your truck on the ice. NOW!  

By Blogger lelia, at Tue Dec 22, 01:30:00 PM:

So beautiful. Brings back good memories of when I lived in North Pole, AK. We knew spring had arrived when the first truck broke through the ice.  

By Blogger Yishai, at Tue Dec 22, 02:12:00 PM:

Not a fair comparison! There are still three days left for the ice to melt! There will be global warming! This is serial!  

By Anonymous Blacque Jacques Shellacque, at Tue Dec 22, 03:21:00 PM:

Actually, you could drive a truck on that ice.

Sounds like ideal conditions for an impromptu hockey game...  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Tue Dec 22, 03:31:00 PM:

I agree with Boludo that the precautionary principle should be applied. There's good reason to think driving a truck out there, so we shouldn't do it. That's the safe bet.

The risky bet is barge ahead.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Dec 22, 05:33:00 PM:

"Re: Precautionary Principle."

The 'pre-cautionary principle' is an excuse for cowardice. Or more philosophically, a rationalization for inaction in the face of risk. 'We don't have a consensus that nothing bad will happen, so let's do nothing.'

A simplified, Pascal's Wager-style, cost-benefit analysis is not the only way to look at things. There are more than two options. Always.

Not to pick a fight with Mr. Schmidt. I just hate that principle. The willingness to take risks is an engine of human development and ingenuity, and the dissolution of that willingness is a death knell of a healthy civilization.

Exhibit A.  

By Blogger TOF, at Tue Dec 22, 07:32:00 PM:

Weather is a snapshot of climate. I see no coconut palms on the shores of that lake.  

By Blogger SR, at Tue Dec 22, 08:29:00 PM:

The precautionary principle is a cowardly way to avoid a risk benefit analysis by denying that there might be a benefit.
Maybe somebody has fallen through the ice and a truck would help getting them out and getting them to a hospital to treat hypothermia.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Tue Dec 22, 09:55:00 PM:

I'd say the principle is similar to the medical principle, "First, do no harm."

Especially when it applies to other people.

I'd agree that it can be applied too simplistically though, and that sometimes you have to take risks. For example, if we do nothing about greenhouse gas emissions for a few generations, we may be in so much trouble that we'll have to roll the dice on geoengineering and hope it works out.

(Dawnfire - feel free to disagree with me, I don't mind....)  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Dec 22, 11:20:00 PM:

Actually the oft ignored principle of "Primum, Non Nocere" refers to the simple edict of not doing something idiotic and dnagerous if you are otherwise not sure of a diagnosis.

Akin to prescribing an antibiotic blindly, or doing exploratory surgery for a trivial condition.

....or, in this case, massively altering the world economy without clear evidence that one is correcting a wrong or preventing a disaster.  

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