Climate Change / Global Warming

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Izzhov
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Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Izzhov » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:01 pm UTC

I'm confused. A few years ago everyone was in a tizzy about global warming, but I'm finding more and more online articles suggesting that global cooling is starting to happen instead. I honestly do not know what to think, as I could not find any articles online stating Al Gore's opinion on the matter, although I have found that Wikipedia still seems to be a firm supporter of Global Warming. To be honest, I don't know that much about the science of it at all, although I have heard from some sources that Global Warming can actually lead to Global Cooling.

What do you think?

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Ann_on_a_mouse » Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

I see you've found the main issue with "Global Climate Change." If it's warmer than usual, it's "Global Warming." If it's colder than usual, it's "Global Cooling." If it's exactly the temperature it should be "Global Climate Change" hasn't taken effect yet. For me, this means that this is on the same shaky ground as string theory. The difference here is that string theory has math to back it up and can't be observed properly while "Global Climate Change" tries to use real world evidence to back it up but usually fails. source
I feel that the Earth is, overall, going through a warming phase. However, due to several factors beyond our control(sun cycles, CMEs etc.) weather forces in general have been thrown off. As proof, I offer "Neptune Warming."
Spoiler:
Image
This graph shows overall light output of Neptune, but an increase of light output can only come from a few sources. An increase in heat would be one of the most likely possibilities. Here's an article that explains this a bit better than I can.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:52 pm UTC

"Global warming" is a misnomer. Global climate change is a much better term. If your confusion stems only from the use of the phrase "global warming", then I'd say there isn't much to worry about.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Hawknc » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:18 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:"Global warming" is a misnomer. Global climate change is a much better term. If your confusion stems only from the use of the phrase "global warming", then I'd say there isn't much to worry about.

Basically this. I'd recommend sticking to scientific literature (Google Scholar is your friend here) rather than websites with clear partisan agendas. There's a lot of hypotheses floating around regarding global cooling - some of them blame CO2 increases and some of them dismiss them and instead blame natural cycles or, as was the theory in the 1970s, man-made particulates like smog. Your last article you linked to pretty nicely sums up why "climate change" is used in place of "global warming", which is that the Earth is a very complex system and adding an input (CO2) can have unintended consequences for the stability of the system, which could be warming OR cooling.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Izzhov » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:24 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:Your last article you linked to pretty nicely sums up why "climate change" is used in place of "global warming", which is that the Earth is a very complex system and adding an input (CO2) can have unintended consequences for the stability of the system, which could be warming OR cooling.

But if it's not, in fact, global warming or global cooling alone, then what's the evidence that it's happening as a result of human greenhouse gas emissions and not as a result of "the natural cycles of the world" or whatever?

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Bukkarooo » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:42 am UTC

Totally agreed. It's global climate change. I think if there are any articles mentioning "global cooling", it could actually be connected to "Global Warming".

Couple a hundreds of years ago (sorry, can't quite remember any time specifics), the world started heating up, as it is now. It ended up melting the ice caps, causing a ton of flooding. All the flooding, in fact, rapidly cooled, and the Warming turned to Cooling. It was a little thing called "The Little Ice Age" (or more accurately, that's what they referred to it as on the History Channel). Basically, the ice caps were frozen again, and reached well down into around mid-Britain and up into mid-south Africa. All the new water started reflecting the heat, causing the Earth to cool pretty quickly, but not to the point of the first Ice Age.

That shows that everything happening with the earth is just a trend, not our fault with all our carbon emissions. That being said, we are probably help speed the whole thing along with said emissions, we're just not causing it, like so many people have tried to say.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:06 am UTC

Bukkarooo wrote: That shows that everything happening with the earth is just a trend, not our fault with all our carbon emissions. That being said, we are probably help speed the whole thing along with said emissions, we're just not causing it, like so many people have tried to say.


The thing about carbon emissions is they create a positive feedback cycle. The ocean is a great storer of carbon, but it gets released as it warms up. So the warmer it gets the more carbon it releases, which makes it even warmer still. Also, it's important to remember that although earth's climate has been worse than it is now, the times where it was worse entailed mass extinctions. And even if it doesn't get bad enough to cause extinctions, there will still be problems... less ice means more moisture in the air. This means tropical climates extend further towards the poles. So suddenly you can't grow wheat in some places. No it's not end of the world stuff, but a few people won't be happy/fed. And no, we didn't cause climate change, but we're helping it.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby phonon266737 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 6:41 pm UTC

But the problem is that it's NOT ACTUALLY GETTING WARMER. Hurricanes aren't gtting more severe - terrible hurricane shave been happening for many, many years. Look up the "great hurricane" in 1780. Wiped some carribean islands totally bare. Yes, you can use statistics and looks for trends, but the timescales we measure vs the timescale of nature are totally ridiculous. so yes, collect data. try to understand it. But we can't predict 7 days in advance, don't try to forecast long term trends.

More CO2. Who's to say that the 1800 level of CO2 is the "Right" level? I mean, obviously there are minerals in the ground with carbon in them - limestone and oil, for example. These minerals werent always there - they used to be CO2 gas. Plants absorb the gas, turn the carbon into solid matter, biodegrade /etc/etc. And yes, we are producing more CO2 every year. But how much plant mass in Brazil is gone? How many million tons of plant matter growth worldwide doesn't happen anymore, compared to 200 years ago? How much more soot lands on the artic ice now that china and india are industiralising? How much ocean life is gone because of the "dead zones"

These are all questons, not answers or data, which have HUGE impact on the CO2 question. What's good or bad, I really don't know, and don't claim to know.
Another question is, how do you seriously reduce CO2 output? You find an alternative to fossil fuels, and there is plenty of motivation to do that anyway, given the finite supply of oil and the growing population wanting an energy-rich lifestyle. Or, you just simply mandate people can't use as much energy, and take the major hits to GDP.

Here's the question i really want to know. According to the hubbert peak theory, we've alredy burned ~~ half the oil avaliable. Lets burn all the rest tomorrow. CO2 goes up to..what? 440 ppm or so? How bad is this?

Interesting note: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide.png
Look at that picture. See that, over the course of one Northern hemisphere spring/summer, the CO2 levels drop 5-10 ppm, and they return quickly as soon as winter comes. Obviously, with reduced output (say all the fossil fuels are gone) the summer reductions will be greater, and the winter increases less severe. So if we did burn it all, it should drop around 10 ppm per year back to "stable" levels, where the animals and plants equalizine. And since there are less plants and more animals, what's stable? 330 ppm? If the "stable" level with no fossil fuels is 330 ppm, and we're at 380, that means it's only 5-10 years for the environment to naturally return to stable.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Bukkarooo » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:51 pm UTC

The ocean is a great storer of carbon, but it gets released as it warms up. So the warmer it gets the more carbon it releases, which makes it even warmer still.


Just a vicious cycle, eh? hehe

And phonon, I agree that we can't put accurate timetables on this at all. Regardless of the amount of data we collect, we can't accurately predict much. And yes, all those minerals and materials started off mostly as CO2, but the problem we're facing today is how much excess we're putting out. The 1800's level may not have been the "right" level, but the change in climate was happening slower back then (according to data that's been collected, anyway).

And about the ppm levels. Burning all of it now, in terms of CO2 levels, would probably be better in the long run. But we have to keep in mind that there would be a good span of time (probably 10-20 years) before it returns to "stable" levels, where the heat would all be worse than it is, and a ton of pollution. We also don't have any immediate and effective alternatives. Heck, even ethanol (either in producing or when used) is WORSE for the environment than the standard oil.

The reasons those levels drop during summer and rise during winter is probably mostly to do with heating. Of course, noone in their right mind would pay to heat their house in the heat of summer, or use the AC during winter (up north). Everything would slowly ease downwards if we were to find efficient ways of heating houses that doesn't release CO2. We are, of course, a bit of a ways off from that. The best course of action, as opposed to immediately stopping using oil or burning it all now, would be to ease into the alternative energies. Slowly phase oil out. This would be best environmentally (short and long term) and economically.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Dec 21, 2008 8:51 pm UTC

phonon266737 wrote:But the problem is that it's NOT ACTUALLY GETTING WARMER. Hurricanes aren't gtting more severe - terrible hurricane shave been happening for many, many years. Look up the "great hurricane" in 1780. Wiped some carribean islands totally bare. Yes, you can use statistics and looks for trends, but the timescales we measure vs the timescale of nature are totally ridiculous. so yes, collect data. try to understand it. But we can't predict 7 days in advance, don't try to forecast long term trends.


The earth is, in fact, getting warmer, as this chart documents. As if hurricanes were the only measure of global temperature, the incidence of one particularly destructive hurricane 200 years ago hardly nullifies the possibility of hurricanes becoming more destructive on average. Your claim that we cannot predict long-term trends if we cannot make accurate short-term predictions is addressed by this analogy from Grist.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Ann_on_a_mouse » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:00 pm UTC

It might not be valid logic, but it's true that we aren't really at a point where we can accurately predict climate change. If you look at this chart, you see that there's major deviation within both of the tested climate models. I wouldn't trust these things as far as I could throw them honestly.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:04 pm UTC

Of course there are variations when it comes to year-to-year predictions. This does not mean that we cannot predict future long-term climates with our current models. And you will notice that all three lines, including our direct observations, are on their way up.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Ann_on_a_mouse » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:11 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Of course there are variations when it comes to year-to-year predictions. This does not mean that we cannot predict future long-term climates with our current models. And you will notice that all three lines, including our direct observations, are on their way up.
There's a one in two chance that they predicted that accurately. Saying "it's going to get hotter" doesn't really say a whole lot. Since these graphs weren't accurate, this implies that there was something wrong with the model. That could say that we did something wrong with the computers they were running on, or it could mean that our understanding of climatology is wrong. Honestly, until this is worked out, I don't think that we can draw conclusions from these models.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:16 pm UTC

Where are you getting this one in two chance from? And have you actually been reading my posts? Our ability to predict climate change is not dependent on our ability to precisely predict the temperature of a given year.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Izzhov » Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:02 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:The earth is, in fact, getting warmer, as this chart documents.

So far, the average temperature for 2008 has been approximately 0.75 degrees lower than the peak of that graph, almost entirely erasing/resetting the global warming that has been happening over the last 140 years (as shown on your chart), leading many to believe that we are now entering a phase of global cooling. That's kind of the reason I made this thread in the first place.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:02 am UTC

I have two drums I like to beat in the global climate change debate.

The first is the statistical accuracy of current climate models and measures, espescially as they are frequently combined with models and measures from as long as two or three hundred years ago to create the current warming trend. Back then, temperature was measured haphazardly with mercury thermometers and 'dead reckoning'. there was no or very little order to the measures and their scientific, let alone statistical validity is pretty questionable. These problems are compounded for oceanic temperature, a pretty big part of the global climate model given that the oceans take up quite a bit of the surface. Until the late 1960's, oceanic temperature was measured infrequently by people on ships traveling along trade routes, the temperature some areas may have been measured several times a week, while the vast majority may have only been measured once by an explorer, if at all. These days however, the oceanic temperature can be measured with ridiculous degrees of exactness and frequency via satellites.

Given that the oceans are generally warmer than land, even assuming we have perfect measure of land temperatures going back the beginning of time, the huge increase in our ability to measure oceanic temperatures would translate to a perceived increase in global average temperature unless the models of pre- and post- satellite temperature were correlated to account for the differences. An extremely difficult correlation since we don't actually know how much increased technology for temperature measure, such as climate monitoring satellites, has influenced our model over time compared to climate change.

We don't really know that the global average temperature (GAT) today is higher than it was at the beginning of the perceived trend 200 years ago, or if the GAT has always been higher than we thought and better techniques for measuring and modeling that temperature are simply showing the GAT as it has always been.

What's more Paleontological and Archaeological evidence suggests that the Earth naturally warms and cools significantly over centuries. The current panic is that humans have caused the natural warming cycle to be more severe than it should be. But our climate model during most of the current warming period is highly subject, it's not old enough for archaeological evidence to be accurate, and too old for technological evidence to be accurate.

The Second is 'would the climate predicted by global warming really be so bad?' As Pez Dispens3r pointed out, global warming models only really predict an increase in sea level and tropical climates that extend farther towards the poles. This means that much of the area currently used for farming may become unsuitable for such. But it also means that areas such as the Canadian and Siberian Tundras may become suitable for farming, and these areas are much larger than those currently used for food production. Additionally, many climate models that predict increased tropical climates and more atmospheric moisture indicate that this may cause previously fertile regions which have become desertificated, such as the Sahara and much of middle east, May become tropical once again.
Far from having less food, with global warming, we may actually have more food. Sure, we'll lose Florida, and a few islands that weren't doing much good to anybody anyway, but a warmer global climate could easily be much better for everyone anyway.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:40 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:The Second is 'would the climate predicted by global warming really be so bad?' As Pez Dispens3r pointed out, global warming models only really predict an increase in sea level and tropical climates that extend farther towards the poles. This means that much of the area currently used for farming may become unsuitable for such. But it also means that areas such as the Canadian and Siberian Tundras may become suitable for farming, and these areas are much larger than those currently used for food production. Additionally, many climate models that predict increased tropical climates and more atmospheric moisture indicate that this may cause previously fertile regions which have become desertificated, such as the Sahara and much of middle east, May become tropical once again.
Far from having less food, with global warming, we may actually have more food. Sure, we'll lose Florida, and a few islands that weren't doing much good to anybody anyway, but a warmer global climate could easily be much better for everyone anyway.

Some effects beyond "well, it'll get a bit warmer" worth mentioning here are glacier retreat and the release of methane by thawing permafrost, both of which form a positive feedback cycle, as well as ocean acidification, which has the potential of destroying large parts of the word's ecosystem.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Seraph » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:34 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
phonon266737 wrote:But the problem is that it's NOT ACTUALLY GETTING WARMER. Hurricanes aren't gtting more severe - terrible hurricane shave been happening for many, many years. Look up the "great hurricane" in 1780. Wiped some carribean islands totally bare. Yes, you can use statistics and looks for trends, but the timescales we measure vs the timescale of nature are totally ridiculous. so yes, collect data. try to understand it. But we can't predict 7 days in advance, don't try to forecast long term trends.


The earth is, in fact, getting warmer, as this chart documents. As if hurricanes were the only measure of global temperature, the incidence of one particularly destructive hurricane 200 years ago hardly nullifies the possibility of hurricanes becoming more destructive on average. Your claim that we cannot predict long-term trends if we cannot make accurate short-term predictions is addressed by this analogy from Grist.

I don't think a chart with out any indication of the techniques used to twerk the data is very convincing.
In particular, there are a number of fudge factors that go into producing these "Temperature vs. Time" charts. Things like:
1) How do you account for the amount of data collected? We have a lot more data now then we did in 1900.
2) How do you account for where the data is collected? If I set up a weather station on the northern tip of manhatten in 1800, it would show a dramaitc increase in temperature just because of the urbanization and the waste heat associated with that. If you're not paying attention you can get things like this.
3) How do you account for error? Was the data collected in 1900 accurate? Was it percise? (according to the source of your chart 1850's data is generally regarded as having an error of ~0.2C, while current data has an error of ~0.05C).

The source of the chart claims that they took care of this but don't give any indication of how. Given the history of these sorts of things being screwed up I don't find that convincing. For example a year and a half ago NASA discovered they had an error in their data due to what appears to be a Y2K bug. Ofcorse, as NASA won't tell anyone how they generate their data, no one can be sure what caused the error (AFAIK the error itself was discovered when someone tried to reverse engineer NASA's technique).

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Ann_on_a_mouse » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:51 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Where are you getting this one in two chance from? And have you actually been reading my posts? Our ability to predict climate change is not dependent on our ability to precisely predict the temperature of a given year.
There are two predictions that can be made about the climate from your very general perspective.(the models show it's getting hotter) It gets hotter or it gets colder. Those are two options, you pick one. That means you have a one in two chance of being right. Climate models confirming what the makers of the models believe to be true doesn't prove a whole lot.
If you look at the graph, the models do show that temperature is going to go up, but neither one of them predicts it very well. The top one is wildly off the mark, about 50 percent. (.6 predicted, .4 actual .6-.4=.2 .4/.2=2 ergo 50% difference) The Hadley model on the bottom is off by up to 75% in one area. Granted, the final difference is much smaller, but it's clear that these models aren't as accurate as they should be. I know that they don't have to be accurate from year to year, but if all they have to say is "it's going to get hotter/colder" then they really shouldn't be admissible as evidence of what the climate is actually going to do in response to increased CO2.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby MartianInvader » Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:28 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:What's more Paleontological and Archaeological evidence suggests that the Earth naturally warms and cools significantly over centuries.

During periods of intense heating/cooling, lots of species tend to go extinct. Being a member of a species, it's something I'm concerned about.

The main point behind climate change isn't "it's going to get hotter" or "it's going to get colder", it's more like "it's going to get wilder". The climate has been somewhat stable since the last ice age or so, but it's capable of entering states where things can wildly fluctuate, getting very hot, then very cold, having huge hurricanes one year and no rain at all the next. This is sort of what chaos theory is all about. The point is that by pushing the earth past some threshold, it loses its stability and living on it becomes a whole lot tougher.
Let's have a fervent argument, mostly over semantics, where we all claim the burden of proof is on the other side!

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:30 am UTC

Mzyxptlk: Good points generally, however I'm not sure exactly how glacier retreat on it's own is going to greatly effect the ecosystem. The numbers on methane release from melting permafrost, as well as oceanic acidification are pretty fuzzy as well. Nobody's really sure how much methane could be released or what effect it would really have on the environment, just competing hypotheses.

martian: What's the threshold and what evidence do you have that we have, or are on our way towards, passing it?

There's nothing to suggest that if the Earth is cooling/Heating, that we have had any effect on that temperature change. And while such climate change may be unpleasant, there's really very little we can do about the natural cycles, trying to halt or mitigate a natural warming/cooling cycle may very well have much worse and less predictable results than our current trend of carbon emissions (which we are slowly getting a handle on).
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Malice » Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:11 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:There's nothing to suggest that if the Earth is cooling/Heating, that we have had any effect on that temperature change. And while such climate change may be unpleasant, there's really very little we can do about the natural cycles, trying to halt or mitigate a natural warming/cooling cycle may very well have much worse and less predictable results than our current trend of carbon emissions (which we are slowly getting a handle on).


Our actions are having an effect. Basic science gives us the idea of greenhouse gases. If we weren't seeing an effect, we'd be searching for one or re-evaluating what we know about basic physics and chemistry.
Whether or not the effect we are causing is greater or less influential than the naturally occurring Earth cycles is still in question. Whether the Earth is naturally heating or cooling, our actions have probably exaggerated that process.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby alexh123456789 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:08 am UTC

Malice wrote:Our actions are having an effect. Basic science gives us the idea of greenhouse gases. If we weren't seeing an effect, we'd be searching for one or re-evaluating what we know about basic physics and chemistry.
Whether or not the effect we are causing is greater or less influential than the naturally occurring Earth cycles is still in question. Whether the Earth is naturally heating or cooling, our actions have probably exaggerated that process.


In the first sentence you state that the earth should be heating up because of what we do, but if the earth ends up cooling down then we've slowed down the process and decreased the chances of species going extinct because of radical climate change, so we effectively have a 50-50 chance of doing the right thing.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Mon Dec 22, 2008 8:55 am UTC

Malice wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:There's nothing to suggest that if the Earth is cooling/Heating, that we have had any effect on that temperature change. And while such climate change may be unpleasant, there's really very little we can do about the natural cycles, trying to halt or mitigate a natural warming/cooling cycle may very well have much worse and less predictable results than our current trend of carbon emissions (which we are slowly getting a handle on).


Our actions are having an effect. Basic science gives us the idea of greenhouse gases. If we weren't seeing an effect, we'd be searching for one or re-evaluating what we know about basic physics and chemistry.
Whether or not the effect we are causing is greater or less influential than the naturally occurring Earth cycles is still in question. Whether the Earth is naturally heating or cooling, our actions have probably exaggerated that process.


We know we're having an effect, we just don't know which or how much.
Even if you hypothesize that all of human society is having a net warming effect, you can't realistically quantify it, for all we know, we've contributed so little that temperature increase due to Human society/technology is below the threshold of detection, we could be buried in the noise for all we know.

And it's not a given that we are having a net warming effect. Human industry has done far more than introduce greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. We've drastically altered the face of the planet in innumerable ways, from simply introducing chemicals to the environment all the way to massive alterations of the very face of the planet.

Heck, some theories even say that the net effect of our actions is 0, that we contribute as much (or close enough) to cooling as to warming. Or that Human's have deep-rooted biological triggers associated with climate change and are unconsciously interacting beneficially with the dynamic equilibrium of the planet's climate.

The global warming panic is just groupthink writ large, if we take a minute to consider other possibilities and options, it's pretty obvious that we have nowhere near the knowledge we need to figure out what we've done to the environment, how to fix it, or whether it even needs fixing.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:02 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:The first is the statistical accuracy of current climate models and measures, espescially as they are frequently combined with models and measures from as long as two or three hundred years ago to create the current warming trend. Back then, temperature was measured haphazardly with mercury thermometers and 'dead reckoning'. there was no or very little order to the measures and their scientific, let alone statistical validity is pretty questionable. These problems are compounded for oceanic temperature, a pretty big part of the global climate model given that the oceans take up quite a bit of the surface. Until the late 1960's, oceanic temperature was measured infrequently by people on ships traveling along trade routes, the temperature some areas may have been measured several times a week, while the vast majority may have only been measured once by an explorer, if at all. These days however, the oceanic temperature can be measured with ridiculous degrees of exactness and frequency via satellites.

Given that the oceans are generally warmer than land, even assuming we have perfect measure of land temperatures going back the beginning of time, the huge increase in our ability to measure oceanic temperatures would translate to a perceived increase in global average temperature unless the models of pre- and post- satellite temperature were correlated to account for the differences. An extremely difficult correlation since we don't actually know how much increased technology for temperature measure, such as climate monitoring satellites, has influenced our model over time compared to climate change.

We don't really know that the global average temperature (GAT) today is higher than it was at the beginning of the perceived trend 200 years ago, or if the GAT has always been higher than we thought and better techniques for measuring and modeling that temperature are simply showing the GAT as it has always been.

You're wrong on your timescale. The Central England Temperature record has been going since 1659, although they didn't start measuring in tenths of degrees until 1722, which seems a good spot to place the start of accurate temperature measurement. In 1850 semi-global temperature monitoring starts. Scientists of that day were very well aware that ocean measurements should be treated seperately from land temperatures; both show a significant increase in temperatures since the 19th century.

Building on that argument, why do you think more accurate measurements will automatically lead to a perceived increase in those measurements? I don't see how that follows at all. It is also worth mentioning that looking back through old records is not the only way we gather information on mean temperature.

EdgarJPublius wrote:What's more Paleontological and Archaeological evidence suggests that the Earth naturally warms and cools significantly over centuries. The current panic is that humans have caused the natural warming cycle to be more severe than it should be. But our climate model during most of the current warming period is highly subject, it's not old enough for archaeological evidence to be accurate, and too old for technological evidence to be accurate.

The thing is, what worries me is not that some scientists say we're seeing unprecedented climate change. It's that they all say it. I am of course not suggesting that science is infallible, but science does have a tendency of being right. There are very few (if any) scientific articles which disprove global warming, or our influence on it.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Malice » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:13 am UTC

If we're totally wrong about global warming, but act anyway, what's the worst that could happen? We stimulate the economy by converting to a cleaner, more sustainable society? The horror.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 12:17 pm UTC

Malice wrote:We stimulate the economy by converting to a cleaner, more sustainable society? The horror.

Perhaps not the right place for this discussion, but spending more money on energy will not create a stronger economy. Yes, by taxing existing energy sources or limiting their availability then there will be more jobs in other energy sources, but it's rather shoddy logic/economics to suggest that this "creates" jobs - earthquakes create jobs in the sense that more construction work needs to be done, but this is a loss to consumers as they are now forced to spend less in other sectors to spend more in construction that was previously uneeded, costing jobs in these other sectors.

Mzyxptlk wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:What's more Paleontological and Archaeological evidence suggests that the Earth naturally warms and cools significantly over centuries. The current panic is that humans have caused the natural warming cycle to be more severe than it should be. But our climate model during most of the current warming period is highly subject, it's not old enough for archaeological evidence to be accurate, and too old for technological evidence to be accurate.

The thing is, what worries me is not that some scientists say we're seeing unprecedented climate change. It's that they all say it. I am of course not suggesting that science is infallible, but science does have a tendency of being right. There are very few (if any) scientific articles which disprove global warming, or our influence on it.

What I've read tends to agree with this: perhaps humans could come out on top after climate change, but virtually no scientists expect such changes would be beneficial to our species. Humans and our civilization has evolved for the current climate, even if there is a potentially more ideal climate on Earth for mankind we are not likely to get to this better tommorow by randomly inficting siginificant changes to the global climate. In any case, it seems rather foolish to continue in our ways based on the premise that we are not completely confident that the apocalypse is guaranteed; just a decent chance is worth very serious investigation and changes.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby phonon266737 » Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:25 pm UTC

I'd like to bring this point up, as I haven't seen it mentioned before. What level of atmospheric CO2 is too low?
Obviously, plants need CO2 more than we do. At 350 ppm CO2, I have to imagine they're feeling pretty suffocated. Many people enrich the CO2 in their growerys up to nearly 800 pmm for best growth. 40% increase in yield at a measly 550 ppm? That's good news, because in our current environment the "efficiency" of photosynthesis is pretty poor. And at CO2 levels below 200 ppm, they all but STOP GROWING.
So, where do you want CO2 levels to be? It's going to level out somewhere - there isn't enough fossil fuel to even imagine more than 500-600. [edit: If consumed at reasonable rates. If it was all burned instantaneously bad things would probably result] Negative effects of CO2 on respiration begin around 1%, or 10,000 ppm, and we'd probably get that high.

As an aside, once all the fossil fuels are gone, we can't use miracle fossil-fuel fertilizer anymore. That is going to hit biofuel yields HARD. combine that without the extra atmospheric CO2 (let's just say it levels out around 250 ppm) and you're looking at a large (40% - 80%) reduction in the per-acre yield of crops. I really wish someone would convince me that fossil fuel-derived fertilizers and increased CO2 levels from buring fossil fuels aren't the reason modern farming does so well - i'd have more faith in biofuels for the future (as I did until I learned these facts)

[ a rainforest produces about 2.2 kg of carbonaceous material per year, excluding the water. 2.2 kg of wood contains 22 kj joules. The sun irradiates the equator regions with 1000 watts/m^2 for 12 hours a day. That's 43 kJ per day. giving our rain forest (the most efficiecnt producer of biomass per land area) of 0.015 %
Feel free to check this with your own sources - i just used 1000 w/m^2, 1000 kj/kg for wood, the 2.2 came from wiki ]

There is lots of evidence that the climate is going warmer and cooler - that one is really up for grabs. thermometers drift over time, thermocouples are definitly not that accurate, digital electronics drift, the calibraton fits people add are sometimes off (there is a lot of effort into calibrating these things, after-the-fact-corrections..it's not very sciency) I mean, NASA just recently revised it's october global temperature map three times. The first two were really bogus. Do we beleive the third? Generall you tend to ignore a scietist who publishes bogus junk. And as for "they all say it" - the US senate actually just produced a report where 650 scientists across the world DISSENTED with the original "consensus" of scientists of the 52-person IPCC panel.
http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=2674e64f-802a-23ad-490b-bd9faf4dcdb7

There is a well documented and extrememly useful effect from increased levels of CO2: plants grow a LOT faster. This just happens to be the basis of a sustainable society: use the suns energy most efficiently. I'll be around 40 years from now to see what the temperature graphs look like, but I take comfort in knowning that 150 years of exponential growth in the usage of fossil fuels can be reverted by the planet in less than a decade. It's certainly better than the alternative - low CO2 level, low yield plants, colder temperatures, starving people.

Take at look at the ice core: temperature seems to follow CO2 to some degree. See what happens when CO2 gets too low? cold. -8 on the temperature. Over and over again. So yes, 350 ppm of CO2 may be "unprecedented" in the last couple thousand years, but so are extended periods of time at todays current temperatures. Most of that temperature graph is COLD.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... -petit.png


http://www.quickgrow.com/gardening_articles/co2_enrichment.html
http://www.homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm

I also need to make a personal note: I am against exponential growth in fossil fuel usage 100%. I am for high prices ($100 / barrel) , as I think oil is worth that much. Burning it all until it runs out is a terrible idea, for many other reasons besides global warming (soot, heavy metals in the air, decreased value for the future, to name a few) that are verifiable by logic and science. Global warming is on shakey ground - WHY must this be societie's drive for efficiency and reduced carbon emissions? Oil is a valuable source of energy - price it as such and the reduction in usage will follow. I can have 1000 cubic feet of natural gas delivered to my house for a dollar. I can run my 100,000 btu stove with all 4 burners on high for an entire hour..for 1 dollar. Yet I pay $5 for 16 oz of water with some yeast and barley in it? GAS IS CHEAP
Last edited by phonon266737 on Mon Dec 22, 2008 4:16 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby tantalum » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:54 pm UTC

there was a study done that concluded that higher levels of carbon dioxide helps weeds grow tremendously and release more pollen. You're right that it helps plants, but not necessarily the ones we want to help...

a quick google search turned up this, there's probably more out there.
http://www.mindfully.org/Air/2007/Warmi ... 3may07.htm

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Dec 23, 2008 1:40 am UTC

From the geological record, we know that carbon dioxide levels have a direct (positive) relationship with temperature. Temporary inconsistencies will eventually dissolve away to reveal this trend. Having said that, climate change is overhyped. The survival of the species will not be threatened, but the lives of many many individuals in the species is. Particularly when food production starts going haywire, and crops and animal products that countries are used to producing suddenly stop thriving. This is because the ice at the poles dessicate the air like a fridge dries out a steak left uncovered, and smaller poles (there is substantial evidence that the ice caps are shrinking) means more moisture in the air. Like sweat, this will have a cooling effect, BUT it means climate change that threatens the viability of any traditional crop in any given region.

phonon266737 wrote:I also need to make a personal note: I am against exponential growth in fossil fuel usage 100%. I am for high prices ($100 / barrel) , as I think oil is worth that much. Burning it all until it runs out is a terrible idea, for many other reasons besides global warming (soot, heavy metals in the air, decreased value for the future, to name a few) that are verifiable by logic and science.


I heartily agree. We're rapidly using up a very beautiful form of fuel that has taken millions of years to gather. Considering the only costs for us is to source it and transport it, it is stupidly efficient stuff. It's not until it runs out that we'll realise how inefficient our practices have become purely because we rely so much on this source of energy.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby meat.paste » Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:06 am UTC

Grrrrr!

There is confusion in many people's minds about global warming and human caused warming. The evidence of a general increase in the global temperatures is pretty clear to me. There is a vast consensus among climatologists that global warming is real (ice cores, CO2 levels, polar temperatures, climate zone changes, ocean temperature changes, etc.) The consensus becomes much less clear about how much of the warming is caused by humans. The UN says there is a likelihood that humans have significantly contributed to global warming.

OK. Just because the general trend is towards warming does not mean that it will be hotter tomorrow. There are many contributors to the local weather (fronts, seasons, local environmental effects, etc.) that may trend against global warming. Do not use one year as "proof" that warming isn't real. The hurricane experts have already stated that it is far too early to tell if the increase in activity in the last few years is from warming or if it is part of the natural multi-decadal cycle. The trend line is very clear, even if it is noisy. The effects of warming are expected to be greater at the poles, according to the models. The melting of permafrost is a big signal that something is happening. Couple that with near universal glacial retreats, thin sea ice, ice sheets disintegrating, etc, and the case for warming is overwhelming to me.

So what? I am of a mind that global climate changes stress the biosphere in unpredictable ways. I think that it would be prudent to try to keep the planet's climate stable enough for us to maintain our position on top of the food chain. So, I would advocate reasonable steps to try to minimize the human based impact on warming. The definition of reasonable moves out of the scientific arena and becomes a political question.

In any case, global warming is definitely real. The places that argue against it are usually arguing against the human caused aspect of it.
Huh? What?

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:02 am UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:You're wrong on your timescale. The Central England Temperature record has been going since 1659, although they didn't start measuring in tenths of degrees until 1722, which seems a good spot to place the start of accurate temperature measurement. In 1850 semi-global temperature monitoring starts. Scientists of that day were very well aware that ocean measurements should be treated seperately from land temperatures; both show a significant increase in temperatures since the 19th century.

Your threshold for accuracy and universality in global temperature measure is amusingly small. Truly global climate measure began in April of 1960 with the launch of TIROS-1, the first successful weather satellite. TIROS-1 was capable of determining temperature over much of the earth's surface with a resolution that makes even the best of prior efforts seem laughable in their inadequacy. regular satellite coverage of the earth's climate didn't begin until august of 1964 with the Nimbus satelittes. And while these satellites were able to determine surface temperature through some trickery and extrapolation, it wasn't until even later that satellites capable of making such measures directly and accurately were put into orbit on a regular basis.
Comparing ground based weather stations and measurements made by passing ships to modern temperature measurements is an incorrect comparison on the order of comparing the size of the Earth to that of Jupiter.

Mzyxptlk wrote:Building on that argument, why do you think more accurate measurements will automatically lead to a perceived increase in those measurements? I don't see how that follows at all. It is also worth mentioning that looking back through old records is not the only way we gather information on mean temperature.


This is statistics and measurements 101, more accurate/precise measure yields a different result than less accurate/precise measure, by definition. If the original, less accurate/precise measure is lower, then a more accurate/precise measure will have a higher value. given that measured temperatures have increased with an increase in the technology used to measure them, it can be inferred that this is what has happened. Of course, it's possible that the error was int he opposite direction and global temperature is increasing even faster than predicted, who knows?

it's true there are other ways to gather historical temperatures, but just like temperature records, they pale in comparison to the capabilities of modern climate monitoring technology.

Mzyxptlk wrote:The thing is, what worries me is not that some scientists say we're seeing unprecedented climate change. It's that they all say it. I am of course not suggesting that science is infallible, but science does have a tendency of being right. There are very few (if any) scientific articles which disprove global warming, or our influence on it.

Not all scientists are saying it, More importantly, not all climate scientists are saying it. Who cares if Dr. Bob the MD is saying that global warming is going to kill us all, what does he know? Or even Dr. Jill, the geologist, this is outside her field as well (unless she is one of the few geologists who actually specialize in determining climate through geology)
And going back to Groupthink, all of President Kennedy's military advisers advocated the Bay of Pigs invasion despite significant evidence that should have dissuaded them. Today, this is taught as a textbook example of groupthink.

Science may have a tendency of being write, but it also has a history of going for broke on mistakes, such as the popularization of Eugenics which some critics have advanced as disturbingly similar to the popularization of Global warming. In 1921, you couldn't find a person who could name even one scientist or other expert as 'against' Eugenics, and yet today, the movement is seen as one of the worst scientific mistakes of the 20th century.

If you want, I can dig out my "Great Big List of Scientific End of the World Scenarios that Might Destroy the World but Didn't®" complete from Asteroid to X-ray burst (now accepting entries beginning with Y and Z)

If we're totally wrong about global warming, but act anyway, what's the worst that could happen? We stimulate the economy by converting to a cleaner, more sustainable society? The horror.

admittedly not a completely valid example:
DDT is a bio-accumulative toxin that has been linked to declines in various predator populations which eat the insects DDT is meant to kill among other sources of food.
There is a major scare regarding the extinction of some species and DDT use is discontinued, causing a massive boom in insect populations while more expensive and less effective insecticides must be used and the predators which would have otherwise served to control insect populations are decimated.
Today, millions of people die yearly from Malaria, a disease carried by mosquitoes, one of the insects whose populations had been controlled by DDT.
Was this the right choice?

Things to consider:
DDT use was eventually restarted in many countries, having a drastic effect on malaria cases once again. Although, not as effective as the original campaign due in part to resistant mosquito populations breeding during the chemical's discontinuance. Predator populations which had declined are fairing extremely well after focused efforts to rehabilitate the species with captive breeding and other methods. While the reduced use of DDT is considered to have aided the recovery efforts, it is likely that even with unabated use of the chemical, populations would have been able to increase, albeit at a slower rate, with the aid of these efforts.

The point is, We don't know what the hell we're doing to the environment, every path is wrought with unforeseen consequences. In fact, I'm fully in favor of greening our technology and society.
What I'm not in favor of is panic stricken bumbling about for short term solutions to long term problems with no regard for consequences further down the line.

You ask what's the worst that could happen? to which I reply with a laugh, "A fullblown economic collapse that makes the great depression look like a trip to disneyland, caused by trying to force society to adopt solutions that were relatively quick and easy to implement but had many pitfalls, difficulties and downsides that were glossed over, ignored, or rationalized away in the pursuit of 'fixing' global warming as soon as possible. Likely? No, but you didn't ask what the worst likely consequences were, and if consequences kept to the likely category, well, you could go golfing whatever the weather because nobody would ever get hit by lightning."
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:21 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Not all scientists are saying it, More importantly, not all climate scientists are saying it. Who cares if Dr. Bob the MD is saying that global warming is going to kill us all, what does he know? Or even Dr. Jill, the geologist, this is outside her field as well (unless she is one of the few geologists who actually specialize in determining climate through geology)
And going back to Groupthink, all of President Kennedy's military advisers advocated the Bay of Pigs invasion despite significant evidence that should have dissuaded them. Today, this is taught as a textbook example of groupthink.


President Kennedy's military advisers weren't working on the premise of scientific inquiry; they were running off of opinion and anti-communist sentiments. The comparison doesn't work very well. I take issue with a lot of other stuff you said too, but this isn't my field and I'm way out of my environment.

However: Here and here are videos from a guy I really like on this subject; he's a journalist who tries to break through the rhetoric and discuss the issues in a clear and honest fashion. I highly recommend you go through his videos, as they may help give some perspective on what the situation really is at the moment. He divorces the issue from green politics or conservative hoo-ha-ha and strives to provide completely objective information on the subject. He can come off as a little smug sometimes, but he's also apparently pretty well-informed.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Oort » Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:12 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:This is statistics and measurements 101, more accurate/precise measure yields a different result than less accurate/precise measure, by definition. If the original, less accurate/precise measure is lower, then a more accurate/precise measure will have a higher value. given that measured temperatures have increased with an increase in the technology used to measure them, it can be inferred that this is what has happened. Of course, it's possible that the error was int he opposite direction and global temperature is increasing even faster than predicted, who knows?

You're confusing "precise" and "accurate." Besides, correlation isn't causation. If I turn on an oven and take the temperature, and take it again later with a more precise thermometer, the higher reading isn't caused by a better thermometer.
Or that Human's have deep-rooted biological triggers associated with climate change and are unconsciously interacting beneficially with the dynamic equilibrium of the planet's climate.

That's hard to believe, that we have an unconscious, instinctive drive to control the climate. Or that we could change it or understand it, or even notice it on an individual level. Is there evidence?

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Mzyxptlk » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:44 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Your threshold for accuracy and universality in global temperature measure is amusingly small. Truly global climate measure began in April of 1960 with the launch of TIROS-1, the first successful weather satellite. TIROS-1 was capable of determining temperature over much of the earth's surface with a resolution that makes even the best of prior efforts seem laughable in their inadequacy. regular satellite coverage of the earth's climate didn't begin until august of 1964 with the Nimbus satelittes. And while these satellites were able to determine surface temperature through some trickery and extrapolation, it wasn't until even later that satellites capable of making such measures directly and accurately were put into orbit on a regular basis.
Comparing ground based weather stations and measurements made by passing ships to modern temperature measurements is an incorrect comparison on the order of comparing the size of the Earth to that of Jupiter.

(...)

This is statistics and measurements 101, more accurate/precise measure yields a different result than less accurate/precise measure, by definition. If the original, less accurate/precise measure is lower, then a more accurate/precise measure will have a higher value. given that measured temperatures have increased with an increase in the technology used to measure them, it can be inferred that this is what has happened. Of course, it's possible that the error was int he opposite direction and global temperature is increasing even faster than predicted, who knows?

it's true there are other ways to gather historical temperatures, but just like temperature records, they pale in comparison to the capabilities of modern climate monitoring technology.

Lets for a moment assume you're right. Accurate temperature measurements didn't start until much later than what I said. None of the other ways suffice. You still haven't explained why older measurements would consistently be lower than modern measurements. Statistics has a number of methods at its disposal to make these inaccurate measurements useful.

EdgarJPublius wrote:Not all scientists are saying it, More importantly, not all climate scientists are saying it. Who cares if Dr. Bob the MD is saying that global warming is going to kill us all, what does he know? Or even Dr. Jill, the geologist, this is outside her field as well (unless she is one of the few geologists who actually specialize in determining climate through geology)
And going back to Groupthink, all of President Kennedy's military advisers advocated the Bay of Pigs invasion despite significant evidence that should have dissuaded them. Today, this is taught as a textbook example of groupthink.

Science may have a tendency of being write, but it also has a history of going for broke on mistakes, such as the popularization of Eugenics which some critics have advanced as disturbingly similar to the popularization of Global warming. In 1921, you couldn't find a person who could name even one scientist or other expert as 'against' Eugenics, and yet today, the movement is seen as one of the worst scientific mistakes of the 20th century.

If you want, I can dig out my "Great Big List of Scientific End of the World Scenarios that Might Destroy the World but Didn't®" complete from Asteroid to X-ray burst (now accepting entries beginning with Y and Z)

I already admitted that science can sometimes be wrong. Nevertheless, the vast majority of scientists are convinced of the reality of climate change. They base this on the evidence available today, which has come from many different sources. So yes, they could be wrong. That is the nature of science. Sometimes we make mistakes. But considering the evidence, I have no reason to believe that to be the case now. That said, I will be the first to change my mind if it all turns out to be bullshit.
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:51 am UTC

Oort wrote:You're confusing "precise" and "accurate." Besides, correlation isn't causation. If I turn on an oven and take the temperature, and take it again later with a more precise thermometer, the higher reading isn't caused by a better thermometer.


No, I mean both accurate and precise, that's why I put them together. I would have to have used on in place of the other to have confused them.

The higher reading would presumably have been caused by the temperature being higher and it would have been higher because the less accurate thermometer has a tendency to read lower.

Think of it this way: A family places a mercury thermometer on their brick patio to determine the temperature. Over the years, they take turns recording the temperature from the thermometer many times, sometimes multiple times a day, some family members rarely forget a day. they never moves the thermometer.

One fine spring morning, the father buys an infrared laser thermometer and begins measuring the temperature of each brick individually and averaging them to come up with the temperature, he also buys an alarm that helps him to remember to measure the temperature at the same times every day. After a few months of this, he finds that the temperature of his patio is increasing faster than it has during any previous summer and concludes that it will be a very hot summer.
Is there any way in which his conclusion is scientifically valid?
Sure, there are statistical tricks that can be used to make the old measures more valid for comparison with the new measures, but eliminating error altogether is impossible, there is no correcting for the numerous expected and unexpected errors that may have been introduced by the old method. The best that can be hoped for is that the measures were precisely inaccurate, that is, the varied from the true temperature by a relatively precise amount. With some additional observation and number massaging, this can be relatively easy to correct. But if the old technique was imprecise and varied from the true measure by varied amounts, then correction is impossible and massaging the numbers to make them more statistically palatable is likely to create trends that didn't exist before. Especially if the massager is looking to verify a trend that he already believes he has witnessed.
The infamous hockey-stick graph shows that climatologists are not immune to this unconscious self-correction. it's why double-blind studies are necessary and why jury's must sometimes be sequestered.

As I said, temperatures measured and recorded before satellite climate monitoring may very well have been higher than the true temperature, or may even have bounced all around the true temperature. But the (albeit circumstantial) evidence points to a different situation.

Oort wrote:
Or that Human's have deep-rooted biological triggers associated with climate change and are unconsciously interacting beneficially with the dynamic equilibrium of the planet's climate.

That's hard to believe, that we have an unconscious, instinctive drive to control the climate. Or that we could change it or understand it, or even notice it on an individual level. Is there evidence?

That's not exactly what these people are suggesting. certainly not on an individual level.
It's one interpretation of a variety of sociological studies that say things like 'crime rates increase during heat waves' which establish a societal awareness of climate and linking the resultant behaviors to possible evolutionary pressures.
Taking the crime/temperature correlation, these people would say that people become more violent as the temperature increases, which may be a result of having fewer resources, such as food and water during warmer weather and thus, aggression, which would lead to fighting and reduction of the population to better use more limited resources may have been a behavior that was selected for. This and other correlations could point to human's having biological/evolutionary pressures to modify or react to the environment as a culture.
I'm not saying necessarily that I believe it, but it's one of a variety of possibilities that we should look at more closely before concluding that anthropogenic global warming must be stopped as soon as possible and damn the consequences.
Soem advocates of this theory may even believe that the current 'green movement' is a symptom of this, reacting to the warming trend in attempt to control/counter-act it which may prove just as dangerous as leaving it alone.
President Kennedy's military advisers weren't working on the premise of scientific inquiry; they were running off of opinion and anti-communist sentiments. The comparison doesn't work very well. I take issue with a lot of other stuff you said too, but this isn't my field and I'm way out of my environment.

Groupthink doesn't care what premises your working under, if there's no or little effort too look outside the group to independently confirm as well as criticize the groups conclusions, then groupthink will likely take hold whether the group is a tight knit group of expert advisers or international climatologists.

In the first case at least there are other experts to look to, but in the latter, you only have a scattering of dissenting experts and amateurs. And if you ignore them all as cranks... well, that's practically a textbook warning sign.

The Earth may very well be warming, and Human influences may have caused or exasperated it. But we don't really know that yet and caution is advised.

Another note: People keep talking about positive feedback loops in climate change. All sorts of greenhouse gasses pushed into the atmosphere as a result of warming temperatures.
But so far, I've only seen one person talk about only one of the myriad of negative feedback loops, namely, that melting glaciers will increase atmospheric water leading to a decrease in temperature.
Whether the Earth is warming or not, it's still more complicated than you think it is, more complicated than I think it is, and probably even more complicated than climate scientists think it is.
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I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

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Azuris1320
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Azuris1320 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:36 am UTC

Well I think the better term we have to consider here is global climate change. I'm a High School Chemistry teacher and climatology is not my field at all. One thing that's important here is that as humans as well as scientific thinkers, we need to do research first and figure out who to trust about matters that we ourselves as individuals do not understand. So to help with that, I've constructed what a sort of spectrum of trustworthiness in natural sciences.

Professional Organizations that contradict their bias (Think lumberjacks saying that we can't cut down the trees because it will be bad for business or oil companies giving statements on the reality of climate change)
|
Peer Reviewed Journals
|
Universities, petitions and statements
|
Think Tanks
|
Professional Individuals (MDs, ODs, PhDs)
|
Laypeople.

The further up on this chart, the better we can assume the information is. Every peer reviewed journal I've read with articles having to do with global climate point to the same conclusion; that humans HAVE had some impact on the climate. Even several oil companies have admitted to it(!) We must not get stuck on warming or cooling, it's a matter of changing the climate which is probably not the best thing to happen for us.

I'm not saying that we need to listen to what scientists say but I am saying that science has a track record of being correct a lot of the time.


But aside from all that, as other posters have already said, using up our fossil fuel resource as fast as we can is a bad idea. Investing in alternate sources of energy and more importantly, changing our first world lifestyles(!) is what should be done. Morally, because I believe this planet is not ours but we borrow it from our children. Realistically because I like not having to worry about the supermarket not having food.


Also, save pronouncements like "first post" for threads outside of Serious Business.

-Az

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Malice » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:59 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
Oort wrote:Besides, correlation isn't causation. If I turn on an oven and take the temperature, and take it again later with a more precise thermometer, the higher reading isn't caused by a better thermometer.

The higher reading would presumably have been caused by the temperature being higher and it would have been higher because the less accurate thermometer has a tendency to read lower.
\

Do you have a citation for this? Why would less accurate thermometers read lower?
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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:11 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Groupthink doesn't care what premises your working under, if there's no or little effort too look outside the group to independently confirm as well as criticize the groups conclusions, then groupthink will likely take hold whether the group is a tight knit group of expert advisers or international climatologists.


I think you really should look at those videos I posted. Especially the second one; it talks about dissenting views in climatology studies. Really, the metaphor just falls flat; there's obviously a bit of peer pressure going on in scientific circles (there's peer pressure everywhere), but there's also an immense (and far more vast) pressure to be the one who proves everyone wrong--in short, to be the shaker who comes in with the new bit of data everyone else failed to notice and completely succeeds in blowing everyone else's mind.

From what I understand, the idea that Global Warming is not happening has been attacked vigorously and with great violence; it's managed to come out pretty unscathed. Now the only question is what the ultimate repercussions (if any) will be, and what can be done (if anything) about them.

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Re: Global Warming or Global Cooling?

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Dec 24, 2008 12:19 pm UTC

There's a sort of process where ideas like the concept of Global Warming become so mainstream that they can become the topic of successful documentaries and blockbuster films (I still haven't seen The Day After Tomorrow, especially because I've already seen 10,000 B.C.)

First, a scientist or group of scientists notice something like ice caps shrinking, and publish their results. They hypothesise. 'Maybe the earth is getting warmer.'

It gets peer reviewed. Some call it tosh, and then either humour it, disregard it, or try to prove it wrong. They publish their conclusions, sometimes, using their own case studies. Others find it compelling, and do a similar thing. Gradually, enough publications exist that u have 'Global Warming.' There are many case studies that do not support a warming theory, because the earth is a complex place. Even if you assume Global Warming is valid, not everywhere is going to warm up. So in region x, it's actually getting cooler. Well, fine. It gets taken into consideration.

Now, scientists can be political. One of the most cited journal articles used in opposition to genetic engineering is one about potatoes. There is a plant that produces a natural insecticide. A scientist took the 'insecticide gene' and put it in potatoes. He then fed normal raw potatoes, and genetically modified raw potatoes to mice (normal raw potatoe going to the control group I assume). Now, for those who don't know, raw potatoe is a poison. Fortunately, raw potatoe isn't very nice either. You could probably eat alot of the stuff before it killed you, but it wouldn't be good for you either way. So, all his mice died. But he determined that the mice eating the genetically modified potatoe were dying in more excrutiating pain than the others... so genetic modification=bad for public health. I don't think I need to point out what is wrong with this conclusion. I would reference the article but I'm on my second beer already... I'll edit it in after christmas.

Now, as regards the unreliability of temperature measurements pre-1960... do you think there isn't an ambitious PhD student out there who hasn't looked into this already? And torn the presumptions to shreds? Of course there is, and this is something taken into consideration... but it doesn't mean Global Warming is wrong. There are problems with Global Warming theory... but it is a long way from being disproved.
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