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February 15, 2005

Tuvaluans Plea for Help!

Islands in the South Pacific are being inundated by tidal waves, but not from tsunamis like the one that devastated islands to the west. Whereas the tsunami that ravaged the region was a single massive blow, it appears from this article, that islands like Tuvalua in the South Pacific are suffering death from a 1,000 mini-tidal waves.

"I for one do not want my island wiped out from the face of the earth, and I call for help, from those in power who can do something to change our island's situation," she said.

"Your help and consideration will be treasured by every Tuvaluan around the globe." In an address to the U.N. General Assembly in October 2004, the Tuvalu government pleaded with the world to save the island nation from climate change...

Global warming from greenhouse gas pollution is regarded as the main reason for higher sea levels...

While what is happening to Tuvalu is unfortunate, am I wrong to be doubt whether humans are causing it? Am I wrong to be skeptical of the idea that an international protocol could stop it?

Certainly the globe is warming, but how is it that scientists have made a causal relationship between greenhouse gas pollution and temperature increases? What is the probability of a Type I error here?

Part of my job requires that I analyze outputs of traffic, air quality, and noise models. These simple models operate with a finite set of assumptions. Tweak the assumptions slightly and the outputs can vary tremendously. Every once in a while, I'll spot something that doesn't look right and ask the technician to rerun the model with a slightly different assumption. Voila! I get the output that I think looks "more like it."

I have to wonder how much of this type of monkey business goes on with global warming modeling. I read Michael Chricton's Cal-Tech Lecture series a while back and it touched on this same point. Very good read.

I ask again, am I wrong to be skeptical that Americans are either to blame for the sinking of Tuvalu? Am I wrong to be skeptical that Kyoto will stop Tuvalu from sinking?

Posted by Rick at February 15, 2005 01:34 AM

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