In last Monday's note, I concluded that climate was only 'normal' from 1936-1977. As with any science conclusion, this is not past discussion. But, as we often do in science, let's take that part as true and see where it leads us. If it leads us to something silly, then we have (more) reason to question our original conclusion. On the other hand, if it leads us to things that make sense, it suggests that the original, tentative, conclusion is possibly better than we originally thought.
So, if climate were 'normal' only between that span, give or take, is there anything else that can be concluded? Two things occurred to me pretty quickly; please do add more that you think of! One is about psychology and the other is engineering.
The psychology angle is captured by a phrase regarding "The Golden Age of science fiction". The comment being that the golden age is '13' -- as opposed to 1945-1955, or 'new wave', or 'cyberpunk', etc. Namely, the defining feature of the golden age is what the reader was reading when they were about 13 years old, what was current at that time in their life, not particularly the period of the writing itself. Applied to climate, this suggests that people who were 13 in 1936-1977 have in mind a period when the climate was 'normal' in last Monday's sense -- no real trend and just bouncing back and forth across a stable average. That's, now, people 49-90 years old.
The engineering side is that a huge fraction of national and international infrastructure was built between 1936 and 1977. To the extent it wasn't built then, it was designed by engineering standards that were developed within that span (I'm guessing some -- engineers in the audience please update). The US interstate highway system, for instance, was designed in the 1950s. But even engineering designs of the 1990s were built for '30 year storms' that refer to tables originally written decades earlier. This is eminently sensible if one thinks of climate as something that behaved the way it did 1936-1977. Not so sensible if you consider climate to be something that is changing on a routine basis.
It occurs to me that the ages 49-90 observation corresponds to some degree with the polling observation that disbelief in climate change, and disbelief in human involvement in climate change, shows distinct age connection. With age groups over 50 showing much more disbelief than those under. It certainly captures folks like Richard Lindzen, Pat Michaels, and Fred Singer. They did grow up / come of weather age in that climatologically unusual span.
[jules' pics] Pond
1 day ago