A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Monday, December 18, 2006

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We Are Just Recovering From the LIA

(Part of the How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic guide)

This article has moved to ScienceBlogs

It has also been updated and this page is still here only to preserve the original comment thread. Please visit A Few Things Ill Considered there. You may also like to view Painting With Water, Coby Beck's original fine art photography.

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12 Comments:

  • At December 18, 2006 3:35 PM, Blogger Renegade said…

    I believe that we really don't know what is going on with earth, or what the scale between human-induced and naturally-occuring temperature change.

    One thing is for certain... humans are playing a factor!

    Please visit Renegade's BS

     
  • At December 20, 2006 4:22 AM, Blogger Edward Ott said…

    great article. i don't think that i have seen anyone argue climate change so well.

     
  • At December 20, 2006 5:52 AM, Blogger +*-s-t-e-f-f-*+ said…

    I think humans are taking mother nature for granted, that maybe why we are exceeding our recovery from the Litlle Ice Age.

    my blogs:
    www.arunnerforgod.blogspot.com
    www.justreadingagoodbook.blogspot.com

     
  • At December 20, 2006 4:23 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Thanks for the positive feedback, Edward!

     
  • At December 21, 2006 5:37 AM, Blogger A Jacksonian said…

    Part of the problem is that the time scale being looked at in multiple reports is inappropropriate to the question being considered. The standard inter-glacial temperature deviation and the overall climactic history of the Earth require a review of the forces behind such climate shifts which include: volcanic activity, plate positioning via tectonics, overall cyclicity of warming/cooling events, and insolation with a view towards solar output and increased warming of Mars. Trying to tare out carbon dioxide from this requires doing that historical analysis, which has a 4 billion year timescale attached to it. Across that timescale the actual, real correlation of carbon dioxide levels to overall global temperatures vice the other areas (plate tectonics, volcanism, insolation) demonstrates that there is no overall correlation without these other, larger scale effects taken into consideration first. Judging on 100 years of timescale vice 4+ billion years is inappropriate to the question: 100 years of shift does not factor into the larger scale phenomena.

    Until climatologists can properly make models that reflect the entire global history and take into account plate position and how high the plates ride, oceanic levels due to this and the position of oceans, overall insolation, overall daylength and its effects on average global temperature and factor in known carbon dioxide levels over that time period, then they will be unable to give any correlation between current carbon dioxide levels and global temperature.

    So far geologists have been unable to do that in more than a general way. Climatologists by addressing the globe, as a whole, play in the court of geology, not climate. As a geologist I am more worried about the top 5 disasters that will hit the continental US because they are cyclic, periodic, and all hitting their average cyclicity and periodicity ranges. Somehow the megacaldera events dwarf the entire human output for carbon dioxide and particulates... *that* is something to worry about and until someone does a real good job defining subsurface structures, water infiltration, crustal stress, and magmatic uplift and composition, the actual, real problems of this planet will not be addressed. Mt. St. Helens, Pinatubo and even Krakatoa and Vesuvius are tiny in comparison to the Yellowstone and Java caldera events. The Yellowstone hotspot, in particular, is highly cyclic even on its low output eruption cycle, which only puts out a few feet of ash out to the Gulf Coast, and previously to the south in Texas and Mexico when the prevailing winds went that way. The true caldera events put out far more than that and has a weak correlation with global extinction events.

    Global warming isn't much of a problem compared to what the Earth does on a normal and regular basis.

    And we haven't even gotten to 10m to sub-kilometer size boloids, yet! Plunk one of those in the Pacific at Mach 10 or so and see what *that* does to the global climate, not to mention the tsunami event... Global warming? Prove it on the geological timescale. Geological events are far more worrying because nothing can be done about the large scale ones.

     
  • At December 22, 2006 12:12 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Part of the problem is that the time scale being looked at in multiple reports is inappropropriate to the question being considered. The standard inter-glacial temperature deviation and the overall climactic history of the Earth require a review of the forces behind such climate shifts which include: volcanic activity, plate positioning via tectonics, overall cyclicity of warming/cooling events, and insolation with a view towards solar output and increased warming of Mars.

    It really isn't clear to me what you point is, but I think it i pretty safe to rule out continental drift as a factof in the warming over the last century. Likewise, volcanic activity and solar output are very well monitored and can be eliminated as candidates as primary causes of current climate change. The only cyclic global warming and cooling I am aware of is the glacial-interglacials and the cause is Milankivich cycles. Those cycles operate on much longer timescales than humans tend to worry about and regardless they would have the earth very slowly cooling with a new glacial cycle in 30 to 50 thousand years.
    wikipedia on Milankovich cycles

    Trying to tare out carbon dioxide from this requires doing that historical analysis, which has a 4 billion year timescale attached to it.

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/04/no-past-no-present.html

    Across that timescale the actual, real correlation of carbon dioxide levels to overall global temperatures vice the other areas (plate tectonics, volcanism, insolation) demonstrates that there is no overall correlation without these other, larger scale effects taken into consideration first.

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/04/historically-co2-never-causes.html

    100 years of shift does not factor into the larger scale phenomena

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/01/one-hundred-years-is-not-enough.html

    Until climatologists can properly make models that reflect the entire global history and take into account plate position and how high the plates ride, oceanic levels due to this and the position of oceans, overall insolation, overall daylength and its effects on average global temperature and factor in known carbon dioxide levels over that time period, then they will be unable to give any correlation between current carbon dioxide levels and global temperature.

    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/04/no-past-no-present.html

    As a geologist I am more worried about the top 5 disasters that will hit the continental US because they are cyclic, periodic, and all hitting their average cyclicity and periodicity ranges.

    As you admit yourself, there is nothing we can do about these things so it seems waste of time and energy to worry about them, and surely unavoidable dangers are no reason to ignore the aoidable ones.

    Global warming isn't much of a problem compared to what the Earth does on a normal and regular basis.

    Can you please elaborate on why this is relevant, I hear it alot. The earth and geologic timescales care not one whit about human kind. And in fact we could blast the surface of the planet with all our nuclear weapons leaving behind desolate radioactive wastelands and the earth would still not care, calmly and slowly erasing every trace as the earth's crust is replace via tectonic motion.

    So what?

     
  • At December 22, 2006 1:26 PM, Blogger Paul Herman said…

    I think you mean 'affecting' not: "effecting different regions"

     
  • At December 22, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger Heidi on Vashon said…

    LIA or not? I just wonder why we're getting the crap pounded out of us with all this crazy freaktown weather in Washington! Cold snaps and wind storms and what next???!

     
  • At December 22, 2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    How incredibly arrogant that so many believe humans are changing the climate when enormous volcanic events shaded the sun over large continents for years--spewing poisonous gases. These events exacted tolls far worse than our collective SUVs--and the earth RECOVERED. If humans have disrupted our planet's weather patterns it's definitely too late to worry now. Idiots!

     
  • At December 22, 2006 3:24 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Anonymous (at 2:31PM),

    Thanks for the constructive and intelligent comment. But in order to respond you need to be more specific in terms of the eruptions you are refering to. In general, volcanic eruptions cause very short term perturbations of the climate system as sulphates ejected into the stratosphere only remain there for a few years. This is generally not long enough to cause any feedback effects that might make the resulting cooling more long term. The "poisonous gases" comment is also not specific enough to understand what you are getting at. The kinds of volcanic events that did actually upset atmospheric composition have not been ocurring for many tens of millions of years, I think the Decaan Traps may have been the most recent (65Myr ago). These events did cause quite a big problem for life at the time. Yes, the earth and the biosphere recovered but it takes 100's of thousands of years, even millions, which in policy debates is effectively forever.

    CO2 forcing is an ongoing factor and it is the primary cause of the current climate change, so it is not too late to cease worsening the situation.

     
  • At December 22, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Yes, "affecting different regions", that is corrected thanks.

     
  • At December 24, 2006 3:27 PM, Blogger BionicBuddha said…

    I just hope we are not irepairably destorying our only real life support system.



    www.bionicbuddha.com

     

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