Global Warming?

Punk HP raised an interesting topic Saturday evening, as he captained a delightful moonlight cruise.  Maybe it was the moonlight sparkling like diamonds off the surface of the lake that brought the topic to mind, but it’s certainly thought-provoking.

There’s been much uproar over Putin’s claim to the arctic circle, due primarily to the wealth of natural resources including oil, natural gas, and diamonds.  But wait — those are all fossil fuels and carbon derivatives, meaning that they were formed from decayed organic matter very long ago.

This would seem to indicate that at some point, millions of years ago, there were plants and animals in the arctic circle.  Although there is life in the arctic, it isn’t plentiful — seemingly not enough to generate these large deposits of carbon-based natural resources.

There seems to be evidence of prehistoric global warming.  Since there were no cars, no CFC-powered spray cans or coolant, or the myriad other things said to cause global warming, could it be that this is simply part of the earth’s natural cycle?  And if it is, does anybody really think we can stop it?

18 Responses to “Global Warming?”

  1. on 27 Aug 2007 at 6:25 am AT

    I think plate tectonics have a little bit to do with the arctic circle oil…

  2. on 27 Aug 2007 at 7:01 am Joel

    AT is right.

    In addition, nobody [lets say it again with feeling . . . NOBODY] disputes that the earth was much warmer at times in the past. There is extensive geological evidence for this. The evidence has been known for over a hundred years. This fact is taught in high school science classes. It is not a novel insight, and it is well known to climatologists who study global warming.

    What points to an anthropogenic basis for the *current* global warming is the rapid rate of warming. There is no non-anthropogenic mechanism that currently can account for the rapid (in geological terms) rate.

    What puzzles me is why otherwise intelligent people don’t bother to read the, you know, actual scientific literature in this field, but think they can arrive at overlooked insights by lying around on a boat in East Tennessee. I wouldn’t trust a doctor who arrived at a therapy by this mechanism. I wouldn’t live in a building that was designed using this approach.

    But I guess if the facts don’t fit your preconceived notions, it’s better to ignore the evidence and dream up some new facts on your own, right?

  3. on 27 Aug 2007 at 8:21 am Netmom

    Perhaps you overlooked the question marks at the end of the final two sentences, which should indicate that I have not put forth any preconceived notions nor newly-fabricated facts, but rather questions and food for thought.

    Lately, I’ve been short of material on which I can speak with authority, thus the "Bored Housewife" category assigned.

    Smile, Joel. It’s not all about politics. Sometimes it’s just rambling for the sake of watching your hackles rise.

  4. on 27 Aug 2007 at 9:04 am Joel

    Hey, netmom, I wouldn’t post here if I didn’t find it interesting and provocative.

    I’m as interested in “food for thought” as the next person, but when the “thought” has been so thoroughly researched, is easily researched on the internet and has even been the subject of a major popular documentary, it is surprising and disappointing when an educated person still treats it seriously.

    I guess I hold my friends to higher standards.

    “Sometimes it’s just rambling for the sake of watching your hackles rise.”

    Things must be really slow in OR.

  5. on 27 Aug 2007 at 10:23 am AT

    No, we’re just all kinda hung over from the summer.

  6. on 27 Aug 2007 at 4:01 pm Punk HP

    Netmom, I enjoyed the cruise, and the conversation. While I have about 30 hours of undergraduate study in Geology, and have a decent understanding of plate tectonics, it is always amazing to me, to see how many so called “Academians” get spun into low orbit, because they think that the little people can’t understand the Hockey Stick Curve. My Ph.D. Geologisyt friend goes nuts if I even bring up the possibility of increased Solor warming, with no reason behind it. So here is another opinion:
    http://www.marshall.org/article.php?id=12
    The solar influence
    If the anthropogenic greenhouse gases did not cause most of the warming early in the century, then what did? One possibility is that the total energy output of the sun changes, thereby causing some warming and cooling. The evidence for this is in two parts: first, the sun has been observed by NASA satellites to vary in total energy output in step with the 11-year sunspot cycle of magnetic changes in the sun. Although the satellite records only began in the late 1970s, which is too short a time to obtain information on century-long climate variations, the association of brightness changes with surface magnetic changes allows us to obtain information on the sun’s brightness changes going back several centuries, because records of the sun’s magnetism are available over that long period.

    The length of the sunspot cycle is a particularly interesting proxy for changes in the sun’s brightness. Chart 2 compares the sunspot cycle length with surface temperatures going back to 17501. The correlation is nearly perfect.

    The second part of the evidence for a solar influence on the climate is as follows. The sun’s magnetic record can be converted to estimated brightness changes, using data from the sun and other sunlike stars, and input to a climate simulation. The results for the sun’s changes are shown in Chart 3 for the years 1880-19932. If the sun has changed brightness in the way the magnetic records have indicated, then changes in sun explain more than half of the variance of the temperature record from 1880-1993. The results for the sun suggest that its brightness changes have had a significant impact on climate change. A brighter sun may be the explanation for a substantial part of, and possibly most of, the 0.5 C global warming observed in the last 100 years.

    My understanding of the universe says that everything revolves around cycles. We don’t always know what causes the cycle to change, but we can observe the cycle.
    Peace Sister

  7. on 27 Aug 2007 at 4:39 pm Jacket

    The universe, and especially planet Earth, is also “in balance” along with cycles. Thus, is it possible that when humans put too much of something (anything “widgets”) into the environment that it throws the whole sequence of existence out of balance? Say the Earth has the ability to clean itself up from the pollutants we spew, what happens when we spew too much and that action cannot take place? Could that cause some problems? I think it could, everything has a breaking point.

  8. on 27 Aug 2007 at 5:59 pm Joel

    “My Ph.D. Geologisyt [sic] friend goes nuts if I even bring up the possibility of increased Solor [sic] warming, with no reason behind it. ”

    Punk HP, maybe the reason is that your information is a out of date. Here’s something a bit more recent:

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/060913_sun_warming.html

    “. . . it is always amazing to me, to see how many so called “Academians” get spun into low orbit, because they think that the little people can’t understand the Hockey Stick Curve.”

    I don’t know about “the little people” (are you talking about hobbits, dwarves, or elves), but a lot of people who have opinions on the topic obviously *don’t* understand the Hockey Stick Curve. Since many of them, in my experience, show no evidence that they’ve read any current scientific literature before they develop their opinions, this academician can be forgiven for thinking that they don’t understand.

    Opinions are like nose hairs–everybody’s got ’em. Facts are a little more scarce, and accordingly more valuable.

  9. on 27 Aug 2007 at 11:21 pm Punk HP

    Joel, I am definitely talking about short people. Otherwise, I will continue to read data submitted, and try to make up my mind. It is obvious that you already have made up yours.

  10. on 27 Aug 2007 at 11:29 pm Punk HP

    Joel, you also sent me a link to an opinion, but you obviously did not read the other opinions listed at the bottom of the page. Those opinions contradicts what you posted. So which is it? Which facts are you using to support your opinion.

  11. on 28 Aug 2007 at 6:37 am Joel

    “Joel, you also sent me a link to an opinion, ”

    Wrong. I sent you a link to the summary of a research article. It is not an editorial. It summarizes researach 10 years more recent than the link you posted. You obviously did not read the post.

    “but you obviously did not read the other opinions listed at the bottom of the page.”

    Wrong. I did. The first one is a year older, and the newer data seems to supercede this older report. The other two don’t actually address the hypothesis that the sun is getting warmer, so they don’t contradict the article I posted. You obviously did not read (or else did not comprehend) these links.

    “I sent you a link Those opinions contradicts what you posted. So which is it? Which facts are you using to support your opinion.”

    The way science works, Punk, is that scientists advance a testable hypothesis, then devise experiments that are capable of falsifying the hypothesis, conduct the experiments, and compare the results to those predicted by their hypothesis. If the new data is inconsistent with the hypothesis, the hypothesis must be revised.

    So which is it? Well, the link you posted is 10 years old. Ten years ago, it was reasonable to entertain the hypothesis that solar warming is a major contributor to global warming. The science summarized in my link was published last year. Obviously, the new data that has emerged since the link you posted is inconsistent with the solar warming hypothesis.

    “Which facts are you using to support your opinion.”

    I’m using the more recent and more complete set of facts. That’s because I’m a scientist. Which facts would you use?

  12. on 28 Aug 2007 at 7:16 am Joel

    “It summarizes *research* 10 years more recent than the link you posted.” Sorry for the typo.

  13. on 28 Aug 2007 at 9:10 am Mike M.

    The science is not settled…
    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/archives/story.html?id=975f250d-ca5d-4f40-b687-a1672ed1f684

  14. on 28 Aug 2007 at 9:38 am Joel

    Mike, this link has nothing to do with the model the Punk’s link promotes, which is that changes in the brightness of the sun explains global warming.

    That said, the scientific consensus on this subject is that global warming is taking place and is likely to continue apace if nothing is done. The scientific controversies are (a) the magnitude of antropogenic effects, both direct and indirect, on global warming and (b) the mechanisms of any such effects.

    There is no doubt that the sun “causes” global warming in the sense that if the sun disappeared, the planet would become an ice ball incapable of sustaining life. The question isn’t whether the sun is involved. The question is, given that the sun has been here for at least the previous two centuries, why has there been a significant increase in global warming that coincides with the onset of global industrialization?

    The link you provided doesn’t actually falsify any model of anthropogenic causation. It does add to the data on the relative contributions of natural forces. The facts of the report are not contentious. The framing of the issue as a personal conflict between a scientist and his colleagues does nothing to advance scientific understanding.

  15. on 28 Aug 2007 at 9:53 am Punk HP

    Your link is littered with word like “Suggests” and “Contradicts”. Not that scientists have agreed on the effect form the tested hypothesis. You are really starting to sound like a Baptist Preacher who picks and chooses his “Facts” from different parts of the Bible to support his claim.

  16. on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:16 am Mike M.

    Joel, scientists noticed over a hundred years ago the relationship between the sunspot cycle and global temps. The CLOUD experiment will test the best hypothesis yet as to just exactly how the whole process works. Go look at the historical record and then look up the predictions for solar cycle 25. By 2020 this whole global warming argument will be a thing of the past.

  17. on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:18 am Joel

    “Your link is littered with word like “Suggests” and “Contradicts”.”

    Punk, I’ve authored or co-authored 70 scientific articles, refereed a couple hundred more, and read thousands in past 35 years. If you read the actual scientific literature, you will find that the word “suggests” is one of the most common locutions to link a scientific finding with its interpretation.

    In science, there is no such thing as “proof.” There is evidence and interpretation. The scientific evidence “suggests” that all matter is composed of atoms. The scientific evidence “suggests” that the earth revolves around the sun and that tides are caused by the moon’s gravity. The scientific evidence “suggests” that all life on this planet arose by descent with modification.

    The fact that there are competing hypotheses doesn’t make those competing hypotheses equal. It doesn’t even make them scientific.

    “You are really starting to sound like a Baptist Preacher who picks and chooses his “Facts” from different parts of the Bible to support his claim.”

    I wouldn’t know. I’m not Baptist. I am a Ph.D. scientist, a medical school professor and an internationally recognized researcher. I don’t work in a field directly related to global warming, but I do recognize science when I see it.

    I read the evidence you offered in support of your view. It dates from 1996. I posted a link that describes more recent research. In science, when new evidence arises, we reassess our previous hypothesis and, if the evidence is convincing, we modify or abandon the old hypothesis. Your subsequent posts demonstrate that you don’t read carefully and that your conclusions are suspect. You were wrong about the links below the article I linke to. You appear to me to be the dogmatic one here.

  18. on 28 Aug 2007 at 10:21 am Joel

    “The CLOUD experiment will test the best hypothesis yet as to just exactly how the whole process works.”

    Mike, the CLOUD experiment is silent on whether solar warming or the sunspot cycle contributes to global warming.

    “By 2020 this whole global warming argument will be a thing of the past.”

    Now look who’s being dogmatic.

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