I remember as a small child in the 1980s it snowed considerably more than it did later in my life. It seemed like the 90s was in fact progressively hotter. Well the data shows that is also the case. But does it mean that we are on a collision course to turn the earth into the surface of Venus? It is an interesting question because of how this debate has framed up over the years. What never ceases to amaze me is the lack of comprehension of the actual science on either side of the argument.
There are few subjects that readily get the general population up in arms more so than that of whether or not the earth is currently warming or cooling. I personally believe the argument in general has been reduced to the equivalent of a school yard brawl where the most common tactics are name calling, kicking and pulling hair. Believe it or not from the beginning of the argument up until about 2009 I believed that anthropogenic global warming was a dangerous scenario. I wrongly assumed that the science was in fact "settled." Then I began to do my homework. Now I am fairly confident that the entire thing is being blown completely out of proportion and if anything I am just shocked at either how ignorant or corrupt our politicians are.
Post a great deal of reading I attempted to engage some of the passionate "alarmists" in what I felt was a respectful discussion on a quest for knowledge. I was always surprised how a few simple questions could turn quite nasty on a regular basis. It was just a matter of my presenting a few key arguments before the conversation shifted to grammatical errors and punctuation mistakes. I realize that this post might ruffle some feathers. My objective here is not to insult anyone. My goal is to just discuss the science and present a few key facts and avoid any school yard tactics. I have to go out on a limb to post this because it will probably make some people angry. The truth is that you can only get so much traffic writing about how intelligent your dog is or the nature of the universe. So here goes nothing.
Anthropogenic Global Warming
The climate has always changed. It always will change regardless of what we do. The key form of warming I am interested in discussing is known as anthropogenic climate change or anthropogenic global warming. So let us break down the meaning of "an • thro • po • gen • ic." According to google anthropogenic is an adjective "(chiefly of environmental pollution and pollutants) originating in human activity." If you are what is deemed a "denier" you should not be. It is a mathematical fact that we have contributed to the roughly 1.33°F increase in temperature that has occurred over the last century. Much of that increase also took place prior to the industrial revolution and exactly how much of a role we have played is unfortunately subject of much debate. Though most scientists do agree it is roughly ½ of 1°C. And if you are curious this IS the so-called scientific consensus that is rammed down everyones throat.
Graphs Graphs Everywhere, but None Worth Reading
Before I start posting lots of graphs with lines going upward I would like to give you a bit of historical perspective on the actual long term history of the earths climate and show you some graphs that will put into perspective for you exactly how hot it is today in historical terms and what it means to exist in our current period known as an "interglacial." What exactly is an "in • ter • gla •cial?" according to google an "interglacial period (or alternatively interglacial) is a geological interval of warmer global average temperature lasting thousands of years that separates consecutive glacial periods within an ice age. The current Holocene interglacial began at the end of the Pleistocene, about 11,700 years ago." Notice two key features of that statement, warmer and average.
The current fossil record indicates modern humans have been around roughly 200,000 years. According to a google search which gives information from Universe Today "While our ancestors have been around for about six million years, the modern form of humans only evolved about 200,000 years ago. Civilization as we know it is only about 6,000 years old, and industrialization started in the earnest only in the 1800s."
Modern humans have existed for roughly 200,000 years. The corresponding graph is an estimation of the earths climate over the last 450,000. While looking at this graph keep in mind the term "interglacial." We currently live in a warm period between periodic deep freezes known as ice ages. It is not as warm as it has been during past interglacials or even our current interglacial during the holocene climatic optimum and the medieval warm period, which sustained human life as we know it today. While looking at the graph also notice the duration of warm periods in relation to cold ones over millions of years. Notice our climate is cyclical in nature. Before I get into sun spots and Milankovitch Cycles keep in mind that the greenhouse effect is a calculable phenomenon. Because of this it can in fact be forecast and modeled based on future emissions.
Man has long believed himself to be the center of the universe. And in this scenario we have not learned much . . . but at least we can do the math. It is mathematically impossibile for any C02 emissions at our current rate. Or even at rates hundreds of times higher to offset natural climate cycles and avert an inevitable ice age, which will come with close to 100% certainty. Also take into account that during deep freezes the fossil record essentially bottle necks and life has a significantly more difficult time when everything is frozen.
While looking at the graph do you notice the difference between the red and blue line? The red line is atmospheric C02 as collected from tiny bubbles in ancient ice, while the blue line is the average global temperature in °C. Notice that the red line lags behind the blue? How can C02 be driving climate if it increases as a result of a natural increase in temperature? I have looked at hundreds of graphs with red lines going up. I will show some of those later on. What I would like you to keep in mind as a reader is the time frame is everything and the way data is presented to the public is completely backwards and the result of an agenda. You are better off zooming out before zooming in because you can zoom out or in literally millions of time pre carbon and see dramatic shifts up or down and compare how steep the increase in temperature is up as opposed to down.
What Causes an Ice Age?
Keep in mind that while we can in fact calculate the effect C02 has on the atmosphere we cannot control the way in which the earth spins. Another ice age is a 100% guarantee. What causes an Ice Age? Those are only things that happen when an asteroid strikes the earth and we are plunged into a nuclear winter right? Unfortunately the answer is no. According to the primary answer on google to "What causes an Ice Age" The University of Colorado, "Fluctuations in the amount of insolation (incoming solar radiation) are the most likely cause of large-scale changes in Earth's climate during the Quaternary. In other words, variations in the intensity and timing of heat from the sun are the most likely cause of the glacial/interglacial cycles. This solar variable was neatly described by the Serbian scientist, Milutin Milankovitch, in 1938. There are three major components of the Earth's orbit about the sun that contribute to changes in our climate. First, the Earth's spin on its axis is wobbly, much like a spinning top that starts to wobble after it slows down. This wobble amounts to a variation of up to 23.5 degrees to either side of the axis. The amount of tilt in the Earth's rotation affects the amount of sunlight striking the different parts of the globe. The greater the tilt, the stronger the difference in seasons (i.e., more tilt equals sharper differences between summer and winter temperatures). The range of motion in the tilt (from left-of-center to right-of-center and back again) takes place over a period of 41,000 years."
Holocene Temperature Variations (Roughly the Last 12,000 Years):
This particular graph is specific to our current interglacial period known as the Holocene and shows positive and negative temperature variations for roughly the last 12,000 years of our current interglacial. This graph does not plot temperature data. It shows variation above and below the average.
According to Wikipedia, "The Holocene is the geological epoch that began after the Pleistocene at approximately 11,700 years before AD 2000 and continues to the present. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Greek words (holos, whole or entire) and kainos, new), meaning "entirely recent". It has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1, and can be considered an interglacial in the current ice age based on that evidence."
During our current warm period humanity and civilization has thrived. The holocene comprises several periods including the Medieval Warm Period and a period known as the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Both of these periods contained periods where the average global temperature was warmer than today.
The Holocene Climatic Optimum was a warm period lasting from roughly 9,000 to 5,000 years before present day. According to Wikipedia, "The Holocene Climate Optimum warm event consisted of increases of up to 4 °C near the North Pole (in one study, winter warming of 3 to 9 °C and summer of 2 to 6 °C in northern central Siberia)."
The "Medieval Warm Period" or "Medieval Climate Optimum" was a warm period in the North Atlantic region. This warm period lasted roughly from 950 to 1250 AD and is arguably the warmest period of the last 2,000 years."