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Northern Neil

Global Warming

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Yes, this is typical of the projections based on the somewhat simple assumption that the amount 'greenhouse' gases in the atmosphere dictate how warm the earth is. They don't. Some of these gases are byproducts of sunlight, others of volcanic activity, and a smaller percentage is down to us. It may well be that these projected temperatures will occur, but then they were going to anyway because thats the general trend of our world climate at the moment. Has anyone asked whether the earth is wobbling toward the sun right now?

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I'm going to make a general rule for this thread:

 

If you want to carry on a tit for tat discussion on global warming, please post references. I don't mind social commentary, but if anyone wants to make a 'matter of fact' statement, please provide some sources.

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Sources for my previous post:

 

Spencer Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, Harvard U. Press, Cambridge, 2003 (this book is online, see link below)

John Houghton, Global Warming, Cambridge U.Press, revised edition, 2004

 

Paleoclimatology graphs and charts taken from:

Arctic Council, Impacts of a Warming Climate: Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, 2004.

 

 

Article from Weart's book (Ice Age) @American Institute of Physics.

 

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/cycles.htm

 

The scientists who published these calculations always added a caveat. In the Antarctic record, atmospheric CO2 levels over the past 750,000 years had cycled between about 180 and 280 parts per million. The level in the late 20th century had now climbed above 370 and kept climbing. (The other main greenhouse gas, methane, was soaring even farther above any level seen in the long ice record.) Greenhouse warming and other human influences seemed strong enough to overwhelm any natural trend. We might not only cancel the next ice age, but launch our planet into an altogether new climate regime.

 

General Circulation Models of the Atmosphere: Impacts of global warming (same book)

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/GCM.htm#impacts

 

The discovery of Global Warming, hypertext at the American Institute of Physics:

http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html#contents

 

Evidence for Global Warming @NASA website

 

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Library/G...ng_update3.html

 

Even if greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized today, the planet would continue to warm by about 0.6

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I never heard anyone seriously claim that the curent heat wave has something to do with global warming. The CO2 models predict a gradual increase in temperatures not a sudden change of the climate from temperate continental to mediterranean. IPCC makes an estimate of 2-6 C in a century.

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I read this recently, and it struck me as some good food for thought in this thread:

 

For although there is indeed a certain order and sequence in the history of opinions, as in the phases of civilisation it reflects, which cannot be altogether destroyed, it is not the less true that man can greatly accelerate, retard, or modify its course. The opinions of ninety-nine persons out of every hundred are formed mainly by education, and a Government can decide in whose hands the national education is to be placed, what subjects it is to comprise, and what principles it is to convey. The opinions of the great majority of those who emancipate themselves from the prejudices of their education are the results in a great measure of reading and of discussion, and a Government can prohibit all books and can expel all teachers that are adverse to the doctrines it holds. Indeed, the simple fact of annexing certain penalties to the profession of particular opinions, and rewards to the profession of opposite opinions, while it will undoubtedly make many hypocrites, will also make many converts. For any one who attentively observes the process that is pursued in the formation of opinions must be aware that, even when a train of argument has preceded their adoption, they are usually much less the result of pure reasoning than of the action of innumerable distorting influences which are continually deflecting our judgments. Among these one of the most powerful is self-interest. When a man desires very earnestly to embrace a certain class of doctrines, either in order to join a particular profession, or to please his friends, or to acquire peace of mind, or to rise in the world, or to gratify his passions, or to gain that intellectual reputation which is sometimes connected with the profession of certain opinions, he will usually attain his desire. He may pursue his enquiry in the most conscientious spirit. He may be firmly resolved to make any sacrifice rather than profess what he does not believe, yet still his affections will endow their objects with a magnetism of which he is perhaps entirely unconscious. He will reason not to ascertain what is true, but to ascertain whether he can conscientiously affirm certain opinions to be true. He will insensibly withdraw his attention from the objections on one side, and will concentrate it with disproportionate energy upon the other. He will preface every conclusion by an argument, but the nature of that argument will be determined by the secret bias of his will. If, then, a Government can act upon the wishes of a people, it can exercise a considerable influence upon their reason.

 

A History of the Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe by W.E.H. Lecky, 1865

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A few days ago on Richard & Judy (a daytime tv talk-show on british tv if you don't know), two climatologists where wheeled in to talk about the recent rains & flooding in britain. I don't know the names of these guys unfortunately, but it was an interesting interview. Immediately the presenters asked about global warming, hoping for a conversation about the evils of it and what we might be able to do to stave off disaster looming around the corner. Both climatologists distanced themselves from the phrase 'global warming' and whilst they confirmed they both supported the notion of climate change, they offered some interesting views on why the subject is so sensitive to us.

 

They pointed out that in britain since the 70's many homes have been built on flood plains, and that the natural ability of the landscape to absorb water is being reduced by our development of the infrastructure. Our experience of weather is no longer what is was either. Many of us live in centrally heated homes, travelling to air conditioned offices in air conditioned cars or trains. So therefore bad weather seems worse that it might have to our predecessors because so few of us actually experience ii in our day to day lives. Look how britain grinds to a halt after a few flakes of snow.

 

One of these scientists did mention a 50-60 year cycle in weather Iwasn't aware of, and that the wet june/july we're getting now is similar to 1947 (which had one of the two worst winters in living memory!). It does make you wonder. It'll be interesting to see if we get a nasty winter this year though I have to say I'm dreading the prospect!

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I think the biggest problem in this discussion is that people seem to mix up global warming with climate change,

Yes climate change has happend since the earth was forming, but the problem as i see it right now is that humans are interfering with nature and doing there bit to add to the climate change, but this has happend before, but not in the way it does the last 50 years or so...

 

"Global Warming aka Climate Change" doesnt mean it is getting hotter in a linear way, it means volatile weather, extrem weather conditions seem to become a more regular thing.

 

Another thing i dont like is to dismiss global warming and forget the basic message, "Treat your eviroment better"

If we keep on burning unfiltered stuff in the air, keep on cutting down the rain forest, keep on living the way we are living right now, we might just have to face what the cree indians had to say about this hundred years ago...

 

"When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money."

 

cheers

viggen

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The only good thing about global warming, is that grapes will able to be grown again in the UK to make great Roman wine. :)

Should be able to grow more Roman wheat too, to make some ancient beer...not that there's anything wrong with the beer from the UK that is. ;)

Alex

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Wow am I the only one here who takes the scientific community for its word?

 

I mean theyve run the equations. If it was really a few busybodies that want to change our lifestyle how could the Climatologists be united so? We're burning through biomass deposited over billions of years of the Carboniferous. Thats certainly undisputed.

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Wow am I the only one here who takes the scientific community for its word?

 

I mean theyve run the equations. If it was really a few busybodies that want to change our lifestyle how could the Climatologists be united so? We're burning through biomass deposited over billions of years of the Carboniferous. Thats certainly undisputed.

There are plenty of people here on both sides and somewhere in between. Personally, I have spent and continue to spend a portion of my reading time going over technical critiques from both sides, and I'm absolutely convinced that we don't know enough about climate to accurately predict it with complete certainty, let alone use it to influence our legislation towards centralized world governance. The scientists are not the ones making the biggest fuss about it, it's unelected supranational political bodies. I don't doubt that the climate is changing, it has always changed. I don't doubt that we are contributing to it.

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So does life on this planet period. Some species are an essential counterbalance to CO2 levels if some climatologists are to be believed. We're not I have to say, but then I don't believe we have a right to expect a comfortable technological civilisation forever. We've done well as a species, but our survival is no more guaranteed than any other, and there's plenty of species that have died out because they couldn't adapt to changing conditions. Humans do have an advantage of course, in that we build our own enviroments (and we're getting good at doing that), but that depends on our abaility to exploit the planet. In fact, I think humanity as a successful technological society has a limited lifespan. I can't honestly guess how long the good times will last, and there's some real tests waiting just around the corner. What I will say is we've become a very specialised creature (at least the modern western variety) and that makes us vulnerable as a species. Nature does this. Creatures evolve to exploit the enviroment and become better at it until the enviroment changes, leaving the creature with little or no chance of surviving. In any case, the planet will change beyond recognition eventually. Our sun won't last forever, and as it uses up hydrogen stocks it will burn hotter, making the earth somewhat unpleasant for most species. Eventually the oceans will boil away and thats it. The sun will then swell into a red giant once it starts to burn helium (so I understand) and you won't believe how big its going to get. We might be enveloped by it! Or perhaps there'll be a very very bright and hot star filling the sky. Who knows? It all seems pretty bleak I guess but then look at the bright side. You're here, you're alive, and chances are you can do something to make life wonderful.

Edited by caldrail

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For a while now I've watched an advert on global warming. Its a frightening prospect. All those greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere and raising temperatures that render our world a very inhospitable place. You need only log on to www.climatechallenge.gov.uk to join the effort to save our planet.

 

Except for one small point...

 

IT'S RUBBISH!

 

Sorry, but it is. The advert is blatant propaganda designed to pander to our current fad for enviromental concern and recruit well meaning citizens to the government cause by frightening their poor little socks off.

 

So why is this advert propaganda? The current popular belief is that greenhouse gases are causing global warming. False. Global warming is powered by the sun. As the sun becomes more active, so our temeratures rise. The action of sunlight on the worlds oceans creates far more CO2 than we do. True. Pollution from volcanoes is currently the worst offender. True. Cosmic rays are responsible for the extent of cloud formation, not CO2. True. We also blame industry for the rise in geenhouse gases yet during the period from 1940 to 1975 when industry increased in leaps and bounds - the mean world temperature dropped. Its ironic therefore that greenhouse gases are caused by global warming. True. Serious climatologists have uncovered a time lag between mean temperatures and the amount of greenhouse gases resulting from it amounting to around 800 years.

 

But what about the ice caps? Surely we have to stop the sea level from rising? Well it would be a neat trick but changes in sea level are nothing new. It happens all the time and always will. One of the reasons for the saxon incursions into england was rising sea levels that inundated their coastal settlements. The current perception also ignores the fact the dry land rises and falls too. Britain is rising out of the sea (slowly) after the collossal weight of ice from 10,000 years ago has now gone. London is sinking because the land mass we call Britain is slowly tipping over. The northwest is rising, the southeast falling. Why? Because tectonic movement is pushing Britain aside as it opens the Atlantic wider. Something similar is true of the Mediterranean. We know that the Meditteranean coast is rising and falling as it buckles under the strain of the African plate as it moves northward. The Alps are the result of it, and the sea is shrinking. Thats what powers volcanoes such as Etna, Vesuvius, and the reason why the island of Santorini blew up in distant antiquity.

 

The fact is global warming is a natural event. The Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today. Where they beset with droughts and disastrous weather and flooding? No. In fact they benefitted from bumper harvests. Wine was produced in the now chilly north of england. When you consider the 800 year time lag between temperature and greenhouse gases we are in fact now receiving the 'tax bill' for the Medieval Warm Period. If you go further back, there are long periods in earths history where the world is significantly warmer than our predictions of doom. Only once in earths past, the late Permian period, was the temperature so high as to seriously affect life on earth. For those that don't know, that was before the dinosaurs. We're at the mercy of a ball of hydrogen undergoing a nuclear reaction 93,000,000 miles away.

 

So what the heck is going on? Basically the study of climate has been hijacked by those people with agendas. Remember all those campaigners who tried to stop the deployment of nuclear weapons? The ones who played cat and mouse with whale hunters? Now their holy grail is global warming. The failure of governments around the world is that they now adopt the same attitude for popularity. These days if you mention global warming doors open. Point out that its all nonsense and you're a pariah. Its become a mantra of our time, and its based on misconceptions.

 

One of these misconceptions is that we can predict what will happen. Although the current trend is for warmer temperatures, it might swing the other way with a vengeance if our ocean currents change too far. The computer models designed to make these predictions are based on the premis that global warming is down to greenhouse gases, and we already know thats incorrect. But because the global warming industry is in full swing no-one wants to hear that the statistics are based on mistakes. They only want to hear the answers that suit their purpose.

 

So what can we do about global warming? Unfortunately, the answer is almost nothing. Really. We are literally helpless in the face of nature. But then nature has always insisted that survival of the fittest is the prime directive of life. Species survive because they adapt to changes. Species that become specialised can do well, like us, but ultimately their enviroment will change faster than their ability to change with it. Our attempts to be greener are laudable but it won't stop climate change. Like King Canute, we stand there trying to order back the tide.

 

I wholeheartedly agree. It's just made with people who have an agenda and nothing better to do in an attempt to change our lifestyle. I'm worried about the environment and the rate we are destroying it but to say that global warming will kill us all is just stupidity. Shifts in the temperature of the Earth is nothing new it's a natural process. No matter what we do the Earth will warm and cool according to its time.

 

They're just like the guys who come up with daylights savings time, they have nothing better to do so they enforce it upon the people.

On the other hand, I don't think it's necessary to let polluters/exploiters off the hook, since the overall effects of environmental destruction are decidedly bad. Problem is, the worst ones, I mean one (China) isn't receptive to the pleas of environmental activists.

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What I will say is we've become a very specialised creature (at least the modern western variety) and that makes us vulnerable as a species.

I'm not sure if I understand it rightly.

Then, the modern Eastern variety is a less especialised creature and less vulnerable as a species than the Western one?

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