10 Predictions About Global Warming That Have Come True


So, when this guy publishes an article like this one that is ridiculous on its face but is positioned as "proof" for GW, it's not necessarily a point for anti-GW as much as a strike against GW.

Absolutely. But with the Internet, it's not that hard to find good information. Just check out your sources and decide what you are comfortable with.

wordsmythe wrote:
Farscry wrote:
hopefully no hard feelings on the confusion!

[Homoerotic banter]? :D

Alright, sorry about the derail, back on track!

After seeing a fair bit of evidence on both sides... I'm still solidly on the fence.

Mankind isn't helping... but nature is volatile, and it will take immense amounts to "END DA WORLD" as everyone seems to be claiming. Take into account that by many theories the dinosaurs were annihilated by a massive meteor. (And if that's true, and the meteor was partially responsible for the Gulf of Mexico and Florida... good job space junk!) Yet we live. What was it, 10,000 years of ice? And people are whining about a few degrees?

On one hand, you have massive CO2 levels, intense pollution, and just about every other nasty by-product of industrialization you could think of.

On the other hand... Our most reliable weather data to establish trends is coming off of a little ice age, so wouldn't a mass warming be expected? Also consider the immense heat output of civilization as a whole. Ignoring the emissions, what else does a car put out? Heat. Ditto with our air conditioners (little more than heat pumps, with heat output by the mechanics) and the list is immense.

Then there's the solar intensity theory... Aren't icecaps on mars melting too?

All in all, my view is cynical, but accurate.

We have a problem. We don't so much care on how to fix it, as who to blame. Though, without that mindset, current politics would fall flat on it's face, and never rise.


Mankind isn't helping... but nature is volatile, and it will take immense amounts to "END DA WORLD" as everyone seems to be claiming. Take into account that by many theories the dinosaurs were annihilated by a massive meteor. (And if that's true, and the meteor was partially responsible for the Gulf of Mexico and Florida... good job space junk!) Yet we live. What was it, 10,000 years of ice? And people are whining about a few degrees?

The average temperature during actual glacial periods was about 3-5 degrees C below the accepted average of 15 degrees C. That's when the Laurentide ice sheet covered much of North America, for example. The total warming we've seen so far has been about 1.2 degrees C (about 1.6 degrees due to anthropogenic sources, with about .4 degrees overall cooling effects), iirc. So those "few degrees" have put us 20% or more along the scale in the opposite direction in a single century. That's radical change. Note that the Little Ice Age, or Medieval Cooling Period, dropped us about one degree; ie, about the same magnitude of the change we see now.


Our most reliable weather data to establish trends is coming off of a little ice age, so wouldn't a mass warming be expected?

Limiting ourselves to "most reliable data" is tricky. We have decent data from a small number of sources going back hundreds of thousands of years (which is how you know about the glacial periods in the first place.) We can set the stage with reasonable certainty and match sources to each other. But limiting to the last 400 years or so downplays the data we do have, and allows one to think there's a lot less certainty than there actually is.

The warming you expect was seen by the middle of the 19th century.


Also consider the immense heat output of civilization as a whole. Ignoring the emissions, what else does a car put out? Heat. Ditto with our air conditioners (little more than heat pumps, with heat output by the mechanics) and the list is immense.

Yes. Luckily, we understand physical chemistry very well, and are about two decades into serious study of the atmospheric heat absorption/dissipation mechanisms. So many of the basic principles are well-understood. Likewise, we have a good understanding of the various sources of isotopic carbon, so we can measure the proportions and deduce their origins. That and other sources give a good estimate of the human contribution.


Then there's the solar intensity theory... Aren't icecaps on mars melting too?

Only if by "icecap" you mean "CO2 ice in a 95% CO2% atmosphere". That is, the mechanisms involved are completely different to what goes on in Earth's atmosphere. The reason you hear about it at all is due to a Russian scientist who posited that solar irradiance has the single largest effect on atmospheric heating on Earth. Since he came out with the theory, a number of studies have placed the solar contribution convincingly at much lower amounts. So opponents of GW, having lost their solar argument on Earth, and imagining that people will think that atmospheric chemistry and surface geology is the same on Mars as on Earth, have raised this observation as a surrogate, to argue that it's still all out of our ability to influence.

Suffice it to say that the changes in solar output are at least an order of magnitude less than would be required to produce the observed heating, if my memory serves me.

All this stuff is discussed in about 15 pages in the IPCC 2007 Summary. You may want to take a look at it.


We have a problem. We don't so much care on how to fix it, as who to blame. Though, without that mindset, current politics would fall flat on it's face, and never rise.

The science is not about blame, it's about understanding it so that we can discover mitigations.

Kannon wrote:
Ignoring the emissions, what else does a car put out? Heat.

A very negligible amount.
Ditto with our air conditioners

They output both heat *and* cool air, as far as the total closed system (Earth) is concerned.

The real problem is not heat transfer, it's phase change of molecules in the system.

I'm not sure how global warming is controversal anymore? I thought it was a done deal, even the W is finally admitting that he can no longer deny the science.

oh yeah:
teach the controversy! i forgot there for a second...

Kannon wrote:
Take into account that by many theories the dinosaurs were annihilated by a massive meteor. (And if that's true, and the meteor was partially responsible for the Gulf of Mexico and Florida... good job space junk!) Yet we live. What was it, 10,000 years of ice? And people are whining about a few degrees?

Are you suggesting that this mass extinction, one of the largest in history, a catastrophe that nearly ended ALL life on earth... was a good thing, because we arose from the ashes?

Verily, as a pheonix from the cinders!


Are you suggesting that this mass extinction, one of the largest in history, a catastrophe that nearly ended ALL life on earth... was a good thing, because we arose from the ashes?

It's reasonable to assume that large scale glaciation involved far lower global temps than it actually did. This is why common sense is a poor measure in science. It's also why the argument shows up tacitly in some skeptical arguments (the less scrupulous ones, anyway).

LobsterMobster wrote:
Are you suggesting that this mass extinction, one of the largest in history, a catastrophe that nearly ended ALL life on earth... was a good thing, because we arose from the ashes?

Anything that saves me from having to fight dinosaurs on my way to work is a good thing.

...

Wait, f*ck that noise. Fighting dinosaurs on my way to work would be so awesome.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:
Are you suggesting that this mass extinction, one of the largest in history, a catastrophe that nearly ended ALL life on earth... was a good thing, because we arose from the ashes?

Anything that saves me from having to fight dinosaurs on my way to work is a good thing.

...

Wait, f*ck that noise. Fighting dinosaurs on my way to work would be so awesome.

I smell a new AAA title in the works!

I would fight dinosaurs because they are there. Not because they attack first. Just like how mountains need climbing.

BadMojo wrote:
I would fight dinosaurs because they are there. Not because they attack first. Just like how mountains need climbing.

Alas. I have warned Robear about the unseen externalities of the "mugger nation" mentality prevalent in MMO games. But did he listen?

Nope, not a good thing. Just a point as to the durability of life on earth.

And honestly, I hadn't even heard of the Russian guy. I heard it from a few armature astronomer friends talking with a visiting actual astronomer.

And I've never acually seen ice core data that everyone claims. I believe that they're being honest, don't get me wrong. I just don't like the idea of someone telling me what it all means, I like being able to look at things for my self.

And besides, I like playing devils advocate. It's fun.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Are you suggesting that this mass extinction, one of the largest in history, a catastrophe that nearly ended ALL life on earth... was a good thing, because we arose from the ashes?

If he isn't I will. Life will go on, it's on the whole extremely rugged.

I don't think that anyone really thinks that all terrestrial and aquatic life will be ended by global warming. Even the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event (aka The Great Dying) only killed 96% of aquatic species and 70% of terrestrial species (which it's thought was linked to a mere 10ºC rise in average global temperatures, as well as a bunch of other stuff all basically kicking the biosphere while it was down).

It would be an interesting question as to whether humans would have survived it. I'm inclined to believe that we'd have found a way. But I'm very sure that the global human population would dip somewhat. Humans will survive this current industrial linked climate change too, but civilisation will look very different after it's happened, I'm guessing. And so will the world population. And the G8 nations' respective stockmarkets will probably be mildly f*cked by the process too.

Can't find ice core data?

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/iceco...

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icgat...

You may want to check out some summary websites after poking around there.

Oh, and I found this link to a squib on recent 650,000 year old ice cores in Antarctica. They show that we've changed CO2 concentrations much faster than they've happened previously. They also seem to show that methane level changes associated with agriculture may be natural variation after all.

DudleySmith wrote:
It would be an interesting question as to whether humans would have survived it. I'm inclined to believe that we'd have found a way. But I'm very sure that the global human population would dip somewhat. Humans will survive this current industrial linked climate change too, but civilisation will look very different after it's happened, I'm guessing. And so will the world population. And the G8 nations' respective stockmarkets will probably be mildly f*cked by the process too.

I know my love will survive!