I can still remember sitting at my desk in the dorm in 1989, studying my latest chemistry textbook and believing that we only had 75 more years of fossil fuels before we would run out (what next?) and that man was causing global warming with all the CO2 we were generating.
This won’t be a rigorously footnoted post, but I wanted to go on-the-record with my belief that the whole global warming issue has really jumped the shark.
What brought on this post? I had a smelled-wet-dog moment when I read the tweets about 2010 being “the warmest year on record”. Not that I want to make the mistake of small sample size, thinking that because it was cooler than average in Pittsburgh, then that must have been a global trend and the overall globe must have been cold. But that is exactly what the global warmists are doing.
As I understand from my readings, we have been collecting global temperature data since sometime in the late 1800s. Over the course of that time, we have placed measurement stations at different spots around the globe to derive as accurate an average temperature as possible, to avoid the “it is cold in Pittsburgh” problem. The big issue is that the same people who brought you Climategate (ironically uncovered by the same document release that is behind the current Wikileaks controversy), the official government science institutions, are also the ones who manage this average global temperature reading, and it appears they pick and choose which stations to include to calculate average temperature measurements.
Anyone who is very interested in the issue of climate change needs to do their own research and their own reading; I would strongly recommend looking beyond the headlines. This is a very complex topic with many data points, and it doesn’t lend itself well to soundbites and headlines.
I read a very interesting book - The Life and Death of Planet Earth, the premise of which is to look at the last 4.5 billion years of our planet’s life and use that history to chart the course of where the planet is going in the next several billion years (I wrote a short review of it here). It is a very good book, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in this set of topics. The authors are two university scientists, hardly climate change deniers (as a matter of fact, they go out of their way to genuflect to the current religion of global warmism), and the high-level points they make that are very hard to dispute are:
- On the time scale of billions of years, the sun is getting hotter – this is just basic astrophysics.
- Over the course of billions of years, the earth will get hotter as the sun gets hotter.
- On earth, CO2 levels have been dropping for the last 600M years, and will continue to drop like a stone, based on planetary cycles.
- The earth will get very cold before it gets very hot (see #2 above).
This is very different than man-made global warming. They share some ice core data that is very instructive:
What you are looking at is time on the bottom axis and a measure of temperature on the left axis – and three sets of data represented by the three colored lines. Pick any one data set; they all basically tell the same story. The peaks on the graph show higher than average temperatures, called interglacials (that is, they are the periods of warmth that span between the periods of cold, the times of the glaciers). This is just a portion of the ice records; the relatively regular pattern you see here goes back for millions of years. This is a very strong pattern.
The authors note that if you look where we are on this chart right now, the far right side, we are sitting on top of above-average global temperatures at a longer-than-average interglacial period. They note, without irony, that all the global warming talk aside, and notwithstanding their main contention that in the long run the earth will get hotter as the sun gets hotter, that we are about to revert to the mean and the planet will get significantly colder.
But don’t worry – this is likely to happen on the time scale of the next 10,000 – 20,000 years. Your current set of woolens should be good for now.
What we need now is real science, and I am afraid we are only getting the mock.
- 2010 Hits Top of Temperature Chart (sustainablog.org)
- Last year was second hottest on record, say scientists (independent.co.uk)
- Man is trivial compared to nature and cannot change climate – astrophysicist (rt.com)
- “News Article: NOAA: 2010 Tied For Warmest Year on Record” and related posts (tidefans.com)
- No One Believes in Global Warming (socyberty.com)
- Is Our Hot Past Representative of Our Future (planetsave.com)
- Life after Climategate (cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com)