1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

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1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:26 pm UTC

Image

Alt-text: "[After setting your car on fire] Listen, your car's temperature has changed before."

Interesting, I would have expected Randall to be aware of the doubts cast on the Beringia land bridge theory.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby jozwa » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:28 pm UTC

History is so cool. No pun intended.

Also, is "Atilla" a typo or an alternative spelling?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby richP » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:31 pm UTC

How many others told themselves "wait for it" when they saw Meghan and Cueball, and "there it is" when Oregon flooded?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:44 pm UTC

Hmmmm ... I suddenly want to create a graph of the Dow Jones for the last 50 years (adjusted for inflation, plotted on a sliding average of 5 years). Then 1 month from the end of the graph, I'll switch over to a daily graph. Just for fun.

...

The economy is on the fritz by the way. The graph I'm about to make will prove it.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby cellocgw » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:47 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Hmmmm ... I suddenly want to create a graph of the Dow Jones for the last 50 years (adjusted for inflation, plotted on a sliding average of 5 years). Then 1 month from the end of the graph, I'll switch over to a daily graph. Just for fun.

The economy is on the fritz by the way. The graph I'm about to make will prove it.


Naah... the DJIA is a fractal curve. Aside from some very low-frequency shapes, it looks the same no matter how you zoom (semi-joke). If Randall had plotted on linear time, the curve at the end would have been brutally vertical.


Anyway, I actually came here to say "Yay, he remembered Asterix!"
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Rzah » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:47 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Hmmmm ... I suddenly want to create a graph of the Dow Jones for the last 50 years (adjusted for inflation, plotted on a sliding average of 5 years). Then 1 month from the end of the graph, I'll switch over to a daily graph. Just for fun.

...

The economy is on the fritz by the way. The graph I'm about to make will prove it.


Am I missing something? the graph in the comic doesn't change scale.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Semiraghe » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:55 pm UTC

Rzah wrote:Am I missing something? the graph in the comic doesn't change scale.


I was wondering the same thing. It seems to just show very clearly how much the pace has picked up, and maybe the sudden change in temperature rate makes it seem like the scale changed as well.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:58 pm UTC

Am I missing something? the graph in the comic doesn't change scale.


I assume the point is that the hockey stick we see at the end is just the sort of variation that we are not able to identify in the historical records (as Randall points out). It would be a more convincing argument if climate science actually stopped at "look, temperatures are rising!" (I realize that's where the science stops in the popular media, but seriously, read Assessment Report 5.)

Naah... the DJIA is a fractal curve. Aside from some very low-frequency shapes, it looks the same no matter how you zoom (semi-joke). If Randall had plotted on linear time, the curve at the end would have been brutally vertical.


Stock charts make a lot more sense if you look at them on a semilog plot. It says something about the numeracy of bankers that they talk about compounding percentage changes but plot them linearly.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:11 pm UTC

Confirmed: Internet causes rapid global warming. Everyone please stop using the Internet! I shall keep on posting about this until I see that you all do!!

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:12 pm UTC

The lesson here is that the advancement of human society is closely correlated with a rise in global temperatures. It seems reasonable to infer that things will keep getting better as long as the Earth continues warming up.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby paha arkkitehti » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:17 pm UTC

nash1429 wrote:I assume the point is that the hockey stick we see at the end is just the sort of variation that we are not able to identify in the historical records (as Randall points out)


The "variations we can't see" picture is on the same scale as the overall plot; the hockey stick belongs clearly on the "unlikely to be smoothed out" category.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

Rzah wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:Hmmmm ... I suddenly want to create a graph of the Dow Jones for the last 50 years (adjusted for inflation, plotted on a sliding average of 5 years). Then 1 month from the end of the graph, I'll switch over to a daily graph. Just for fun.

...

The economy is on the fritz by the way. The graph I'm about to make will prove it.


Am I missing something? the graph in the comic doesn't change scale.


The precision of the measurements does change however. We have extremely accurate records for the last century or two. The further back in time you go, the more coarse the measurements get.

It just bugs me when people do that on a graph and then act as though it's all one data set. It's not. If we could have measured data on a daily basis for 20,000 years, it would be much noisier than what was drawn.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby NoMouse » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:23 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:Confirmed: Internet causes rapid global warming. Everyone please stop using the Internet! I shall keep on posting about this until I see that you all do!!

The way I read it, until I see more data, I'm going to assume global warming causes the Internet.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:27 pm UTC

cellocgw wrote:Naah... the DJIA is a fractal curve. Aside from some very low-frequency shapes, it looks the same no matter how you zoom (semi-joke).


I thought about that, thus my decision to say a 5 year sliding average. I think you'd get a much smoother graph if you did it that way. Admittedly however, I haven't tried it.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby paulmiranda » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:27 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:The precision of the measurements does change however. We have extremely accurate records for the last century or two. The further back in time you go, the more coarse the measurements get.

It just bugs me when people do that on a graph and then act as though it's all one data set. It's not. If we could have measured data on a daily basis for 20,000 years, it would be much noisier than what was drawn.


Yeah, we want error bars.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby chenille » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:35 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:The lesson here is that the advancement of human society is closely correlated with a rise in global temperatures. It seems reasonable to infer that things will keep getting better as long as the Earth continues warming up.

Assuming you think things like chariots, iron smelting, the Mayans, Confucius, the printing press, and Newton were all steps backward, to pick a few that happened during the mild decreases in temperature shown. (And of course, that extrapolating a trend over an order of magnitude is ever a good idea, and that causality is always bidirectional. May we flourish on Mustafar!)

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Sofie » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:39 pm UTC

When I say "the climate has changed before", I think of millions of years ago, when there weren't any polar icecaps.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:41 pm UTC

It just bugs me when people do that on a graph and then act as though it's all one data set. It's not. If we could have measured data on a daily basis for 20,000 years, it would be much noisier than what was drawn.


That's true. I'm not really a climate scientist but I do environmental work that often intersects with climate science, and it gets really irritating seeing all the nonsense that gets spread about environmental issues in the press (e.g., I recently saw a journalist claim that the Salton Sea is disappearing due to climate change). A lot of environmentalists seem to have trouble with the idea that a certain environmental issue can be legitimately serious while their own conceptions of how and why it is serious are totally false.

The "variations we can't see" picture is on the same scale as the overall plot; the hockey stick belongs clearly on the "unlikely to be smoothed out" category.


Are you sure? I don't see anything that strongly suggests the inset is on the same scale, and a brief scan of the papers used to construct the plot didn't turn anything up that clearly matched the inset.

That's not to say that the hockey stick doesn't belong in the "unlikely to be smoothed out" category, only that you have to go deeper into the science than a visual inspection of temperature plots.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Flumble » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:54 pm UTC

paulmiranda wrote:Yeah, we want error bars.

Error bars are too abstract. We want daily measurements for the past 100,000 years.

TIL there were no ice sheets over Eurasia. Otherwise Randall surely would've said something about their movement, like he did in detail for the ice sheets over North America. :evil:

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby QuakeIV » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:14 pm UTC

>car temperature increases by one degree

'listen, your car has changed temperature before'


Spoiler:
i fully recognize that one degree is significant in terms of the global climate

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby tomintx » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

richP wrote:How many others told themselves "wait for it" when they saw Meghan and Cueball, and "there it is" when Oregon flooded?

Mostly, it was Washington that was flooded. On a Thursday...
https://www.amazon.com/Bretzs-Flood-Remarkable-Geologist-Greatest/dp/1570616310/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473704195&sr=1-1&keywords=bretz+flood

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Cock Robin » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:23 pm UTC

Somewhat disappointed that the colonization of Australia by the aboriginal humans (approx. 60,000 years ago, plus or minus - although some data indicate much earlier (200,000 years ago)) wasn't on the timeline.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:32 pm UTC

chenille wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:The lesson here is that the advancement of human society is closely correlated with a rise in global temperatures. It seems reasonable to infer that things will keep getting better as long as the Earth continues warming up.

Assuming you think things like chariots, iron smelting, the Mayans, Confucius, the printing press, and Newton were all steps backward, to pick a few that happened during the mild decreases in temperature shown. (And of course, that extrapolating a trend over an order of magnitude is ever a good idea, and that causality is always bidirectional. May we flourish on Mustafar!)

I said it was only closely correlated, didn't I?
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nwimpney » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:51 pm UTC

Can someone give a dumbed down explanation of how they know the temperatures in prehistoric times?

I am hoping we're not using some circular logic, Estimating future temperature increases based on CO2 levels, based on changes from historical temperatures which we calculated based on CO2 levels.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby StClair » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

tomintx wrote:
richP wrote:How many others told themselves "wait for it" when they saw Meghan and Cueball, and "there it is" when Oregon flooded?

Mostly, it was Washington that was flooded. On a Thursday...
https://www.amazon.com/Bretzs-Flood-Remarkable-Geologist-Greatest/dp/1570616310/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473704195&sr=1-1&keywords=bretz+flood


Oregon too.

I live at the southern end of the Willamette River valley, aka the Willamette flood plain - a broad stretch of almost completely flat land between two lines of hills and mountains, that was originally formed when the ice dam(s) to the north finally broke loose. It stopped here, this was the high-water mark; south of us, the terrain is much rougher and varied, all carved by individual streams rather than one massive deluge.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Amaroq » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:24 pm UTC

Surely Randall didn't cherry pick data on purpose, did he?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:35 pm UTC

Amaroq wrote:Surely Randall didn't cherry pick data on purpose, did he?


Are you serious? Who's more likely to be cherry-picking: Randall or the Heritage Foundation?

It even says, right on your plot, that the data is limited to a random latitude band in the Northern Hemisphere. Can you show us one of the global mean temperature instead?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby doogly » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:38 pm UTC

heritage.org? you comin in here with bad jokes? this place is for good jokes and science facts only.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Cousj001 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:43 pm UTC

Magic is real, unless declared integer.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby cphite » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:46 pm UTC

nwimpney wrote:Can someone give a dumbed down explanation of how they know the temperatures in prehistoric times?

I am hoping we're not using some circular logic, Estimating future temperature increases based on CO2 levels, based on changes from historical temperatures which we calculated based on CO2 levels.


They use a combination of many techniques. For example, they can look at tree rings - trees tend to grow faster the warmer it is. They can look at layers in ice shelves - warmer climate means more precipitation means a thicker layer. They can look at layers in soil to determine the yearly rain fall. They can look at shell deposits on the sea floor. Etc, etc, etc... None of these methods is definitive in and of itself but when they're combined you can get a pretty good idea of what the temperature was for any given period.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Tirear » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:55 pm UTC

nwimpney wrote:Can someone give a dumbed down explanation of how they know the temperatures in prehistoric times?

I am hoping we're not using some circular logic, Estimating future temperature increases based on CO2 levels, based on changes from historical temperatures which we calculated based on CO2 levels.

Based on some googling, one of the studies Randall cited used the ratio of different isotopes of oxygen in ice. This is believed to be a good indicator of mean surface ocean temperature at the time it was formed, or something.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:02 pm UTC

nwimpney wrote:Can someone give a dumbed down explanation of how they know the temperatures in prehistoric times?

Quick overview.

"There are measurable chemical differences in snow formed at different temperatures, so ice cores provide a record of polar temperature going back around 250,000 years for Greenland and 800,000 years for Antarctica."

You can also measure the CO2 in the prehistoric atmosphere from an ice core, but that's not used to calculate the temperature.

There are also more things you can look at that just ice cores to get an estimation of prehistoric temperature, then compare the data from multiple sources to verify. All that's mentioned in the link too.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby HiFranc » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:03 pm UTC

I can't remember where I heard it but I'm sure that archaeologists now have evidence that the Americas were populated before the land bridge (that is now the Bering Straits) formed.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:17 pm UTC

HiFranc wrote:I can't remember where I heard it but I'm sure that archaeologists now have evidence that the Americas were populated before the land bridge (that is now the Bering Straits) formed.

I'd be really interested to hear more about this. Modern explorers have demonstrated that ships from ancient Egypt could have been used for trans-Atlantic crossings, but I've never heard of such a thing being seriously put forward as a possible historic event. (And anyway there's another 7-15 millennia separating that era and the period between the emergence of Beringia and the hypothesized migration to the Americas over it - but then again, I understand that Borneo, Australia, and New Zealand are supposed to have been colonized well before that, though those are considerably shorter distances.)
Last edited by commodorejohn on Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:27 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby DanD » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:21 pm UTC

HiFranc wrote:I can't remember where I heard it but I'm sure that archaeologists now have evidence that the Americas were populated before the land bridge (that is now the Bering Straits) formed.


I think this might be the source you are thinking about

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/pre ... y-thought/

(well, the referenced article, anyway), but it doesn't pre-date the land bridge, just predates the Clovis culture, which is the earliest archaeologically identified population. It does, however, suggest that the population may have been maritime/fishing oriented rather than herder/hunter oriented, based on the conditions they would have encountered crossing the land bridge.

There are a few finds that people claim predate the land bridge, but not anything definitive.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:33 pm UTC



Social justice warriors, your mission is clear. You have your ammunition. Go forth into the world and fight! .... online!

(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:47 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)

Scientists frequently adjust their data to eliminate noise, which is only a problem if the noise is relevant (ie: if it's not actually noise). Do you think the historical noise is relevant here? Alternatively, is the current trend of warming over the past 50 years irrelevant noise?
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:05 pm UTC

SDK wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)

Scientists frequently adjust their data to eliminate noise, which is only a problem if the noise is relevant (ie: if it's not actually noise). Do you think the historical noise is relevant here? Alternatively, is the current trend of warming over the past 50 years irrelevant noise?


Possibly. Suppose I told you that steep warming/cooling trends stretching 50 years happened all the time, but were smoothed everywhere except in the last 50 years in that graph. That would certainly make it relevant, don't you think?

Now here's the question--are there periods of sharp warming/cooling in the last 20,000 years being smoothed out in this graph?

The answer is actually very simple: I don't know. And without additional information, neither do you. This graph is not useful. (Unless you're a meaniehead and you just want to argue online. Then it is immensely useful).

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:09 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)


The purpose of this plot isn't to present scientific evidence, but to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. Instead of nitpicking about the way the plot was constructed, would you care to offer any criticism of the underlying science?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:24 pm UTC

nash1429 wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)


The purpose of this plot isn't to present scientific evidence, but to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. Instead of nitpicking about the way the plot was constructed, would you care to offer any criticism of the underlying science?


I'm not arguing the science, merely arguing that plots that attempt to communicate scientific conclusions to the public should be scientifically honest. If you can't do that, then you have a big problem.


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