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Okay, question for scientists and global-warming adherents

 
 
Mame
 
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 09:28 pm
I live with a scientist (well, MSc geo) who pooh-poohs all the global warming talk. I want to know from SCIENTISTS whether global warming is just the latest fad or whether there is any validity to it.

During the past few days someone (FM? Dys? BBB?) posted an interesting article on the Ice Age or the ice receding but I can't find it. I wanted to get his opinion on it.

I never seem to hear anything from 'ice' or 'ice age' experts on the news, and I really want to understand their perspective.

Is global warming just a hoax or what?

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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 2,261 • Replies: 12
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Apr, 2009 10:17 pm
Some of scientists on A2K aren't convinced of global warming either. Maybe they'll chime in here. You can see their posts on the global warming threads.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 05:02 am
Ive posted on the global warming thread my opinion. From the geological record we have sound evidence that weve gone through several severe GW events that are coincident with various SUN cycles and maxima of the orbital axis. So far , it can be adduced from evidence that we are in a similar cyclic maximum . ALso, an item of concern for all "anthropogenic" global warming folks is the occurence of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. I am more convinced that CO is a following event, not a causitive one. In other words, the rising temps CAUSE the release of stored CO2(this is counter to the GW popular theories that CO2 and other greenhouse gases CAUSE GW). We are seeing that CO2 is a following event from studies in the tundras (where CO2 has been calculated to being released in levels that are orders of magnitude of those from the past century) Howevere, these data, like any, are open to debate because the availability of previous century data is sparse. Same thing with oceanic CO2.

Im not denying that GW is occuring, It is. However, the connection between human activity and the hysteria surrounding GW is kind of alarming. Im not convinced and the list of scientists who are similarly unconvinced is growing. Im beginning to conclude that these huge carbon footprint projects are a waste of resources.

Global warming has become politicized so it therefore has lost much of its its scientific credibility that is borne of "dispassionate science" (Try to find a decent scientific argument about GW that doesnt end up in hysterical shouting from both sides). Those who "believe" that we are going to kill ourselves by our own sword (or smokestack) are usually of one political stripe, while those who are dubious, seem to cluster around the right.

Im a leftie and Im convinced that this is a storm in a teapot and that we have little control over the angle of our presentation to the sun. In 11000 years or so, we shall see whos right. If the sun cycle scientists are correct, we will then be approaching another Ice AGe maximum between now and then but only after a protracted period of sunny and warmer for the next 5000 years or so.

The effects of GW can be dire to the populations of the planet. Desertification, disruption of rain patterns and such are all items that place strains on our planets sustainability and with the worlds population growing as it is, the remaining centers of arable soils and benevolent climates will be changing and humankinds activity should be more focused on how we deal with this as it is being presented to us. We need to invest in huge infrastructure projects to make water available to the growing arid areas. This can be done with present technology. Years ago, many of us did pro bono projects during the Carter and early Reagan years where teams of technologits would drill large numbers of water wells in arid areas. These wells were so situated to be tapping only the water in storgage and "passby" which could be sustainable in an area that was becoming droughty. These projects have since mostly stopped and wwere just wringing our hands and diverting all our damned resources to "trapping carbon". I remember being part of a team that did a huge amount of satellite recon to detect undersea "Springs" as they discharge from the land water tables. These springs were producing water from the last Ice Age and could easily be tapped dfor todays needs but this option was fought by the vast resources of the "desalinization interests" and was pretty much abandoned.
It was recently calculated that humankinds total contribution to CO2 (despite my concerns that CO2 is a following indicator) is miniscule compared to natural relases that are reacting to the increasing albido effect dur to the changing solar irradiation and general "warming up" of the planet.

AS far as extincction of animals, I suppose that there is a sad inevitability going on . We can, of course,trap and grow "sanctuary" populations of polar bears or otheranimals that face extinction. However, the rules that once evolved the polar bear from the arboreal brown bear population, will still be in play. I am more dispassionate about my " anthropomorphization and subsequent attachment" to individual species because the chain of life shows us, through the fossil record that over 99.9999% of all species that ever lived are extinct. We now have the technology to preserve the great diversity of polar bear DNA. We can create huge pools of , say, polar bear DNA and, as we emerge from the warm back into the cold we can create new polar bars. (Im sure our technology will be even more advanced in the arena of cloning then). Im just not as torqued up about extinctions over which we have little control.(Those that are resulting from "OVER(insert term here)" or habitat loss, should be saved by technology and management. Im in favor of a diverse ecosystem becasue it makes good biological sense. However, we may not be able to save polar bears or narwhals or hawaian geese and certain spexies of lemurs. SO Im becoming inured to such an inevitability and working to make my corner of the world a habitat for my micro ecosystem.

Im equally concerned that our concern for (what I feel) is a NON ISSUE, we are potentially missing the opportunities to develop vast storehouse of methane from the ocean floor. These methane deposits (methane is also a greenhouse gas) are just being released like gas from a pop bottle. We seem to be averting our talents from developing a possibly unlimited supply of gas thats easy to collect and use. (Again, I think its some new technolgy and , more importantly , an international WILL thats needed)

I dont consider myelf an expert but I do hang around with several and , to a person, they feel as I do, (except with greater facts at their sides).
Thats my story and Im stickin with it until some really convincing evidenece appears that could change my mind, then, as always, Ill re-review my thinking ( During my grad school years, I actually used to be a global "cooling ist")
solipsister
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 05:32 am
plankton just drift along seemingly oblivious, cmon guys suck it up

"wringing our hands and diverting all our damned resources" too punny
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 06:39 am
@farmerman,
Thank you. Thank you very much, FM.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 07:06 am
I'm pretty much convinced that weather is a caused by fundamentalist religions, vegetarianism, unions and ShamWow. All global warming oiriginates in Washington D.C.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 07:13 am
Mame wrote:
I never seem to hear anything from 'ice' or 'ice age' experts on the news, and I really want to understand their perspective.


. . . and then, FM wrote:

Quote:
( During my grad school years, I actually used to be a global "cooling ist")


When i was in university, the clever position of young scientists studying climate was to predict an approaching ice age. What most people at the time did not understand was that these folks were talking in the range of 10,000 to 150,000 years. After i left university, in the 1970s, many young scientists were still talking about a coming ice age, and by then had begun to talk about a possible "mini-ice age" event in the near future, because, of course, governments don't give grants for people to study things which government doesn't think will have any proximate effect.

I strongly suspect that a good deal of the rise of the global warming lobby among academic scientists is tied to the government grant mill. Governments will give grants to study things which seem like they might soon have an effect on their constituency. But i have seen several problems with the entire global warming set of allegations, mostly from an historical perspective (the perspective i am qualified to review). One is that the data is not wide nor deep. Most climate information comes from the weather services of various nations, most of which are little more than a century old. And these services cluster near "heat islands," which is to say, places with dense human populations. Even were that data reliable, we don't have a clear cut base line to which to compare it. We don't know what climate conditions were like hundreds of years ago, thousands of years or tens of thousands of years ago (the last massive glaciation only began to rapidly retreat about 15,000 years ago). We have crude information--for example, Dorset culture Eskimos were tied culturally to pelagic seal populations and the populations of other acquatic mammals which preferred cold water. Therefore, the belief that there was a "mini-ice age" in the North Atlantic between about 500 BCE and 500 CE has been inferred from, among other data, the habitation sites of Dorset bands, which can be identified from the seal bones, the cultural artifacts, and only occasionally from the human remains (very few Dorset burials have been found, and we don't know enough about their culture to know if they commonly exposed remains, as so many aboriginal people in North America once did). We have scant historical records, such as that of Pytheas, a colonial Greek from the Massilia (Marseilles) colony in what is now southern France. He left an account of his voyage to what obviously were the British Isles, and a less obvious account of a voyage north to an island which was probably today's Iceland. He states that the pack ice clustered around the northern shores of the island he describes, and it it were Iceland, that would tend to confirm the occurrence of a mini-ice age, since in historical times since the continuous occupation of Iceland (first by the Irish and the Picts, and then by the Norse), the pack ice never extended so far south.

Studies of ice cores from Antarctica can give some useful climate data, but none of the sources, whether historical records, inferential evidence from archaeology nor ice cores from Antarctica can, so far, tell us to what extent there is an extraordinary, human-caused warming of the planet.

I have not expressed these ideas for years around here, because early on, in 2002 or 2003, i made similar remarks, and was literally attacked for having expressed politically unpopular views among a certain group of members here.

I say none of this as a scientist, because i am not a scientists. However, i have taken note of the events of my own time, and the subject of climate is important in history, both distant and recent. I read and i pay attention. I, too, am less than convinced of the quality of the "evidence" which is advanced for human-produced global warming. But i don't often say so, because the view is unpopular, i don't want to be associated with right-wingers who attack the idea for political reasons without advancing convincing arguments, and i don't intend to argue this out again and again and again with people who aren't listening anyway.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 07:46 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
Is global warming just a hoax or what?

There is no question that the climate is changing. See the following A2K Thread. The only question is how much Human activity is contributing to it.

Even if everyone agreed that human activity was contributing something to the overall warming effect, it would be important to know how much of a relative contribution we were making in the grand scheme of things.

For example, if natural climate change were like the volume of water flowing over Niagara Falls, then is human activity like a bucket of water being added to the overall flow, or is it much more than that? I haven't seen any real data which answer that question yet. If all of human activity in relation to natural effects amounts to just a drop in the bucket, then even though it would be nice if we cleaned up our act, it will barely change a thing (as far as GW is concerned).

There is one other thing to consider: We are very near the peak of a very long natural warming trend (see the ice-core graph posted on that other thread I referenced) which has a very predictable cycle to it. It seems virtually certain that the purely natural forces on this planet are soon going to switch to a natural cooling trend leading back to another ice age. And the only thing we could possibly do about it with our current technology is to increase the CO2 in the atmosphere and hope that offset the cooling trigger event (probably the thermohaline cycle in the ocean). So, ironically, the answer to how much human activity is contributing to the existing warming, might also tell us what (if any) chance we have to prevent the next ice age. And adding CO2 to the atmosphere might even be the right thing for us to be doing right now (that oughta set some people off Smile )
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 08:13 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
I'm pretty much convinced that weather is caused by ShamWow


This is an important hypothesis. ROAD TRIP!!.



I too have stayed away pretty much from the GW thread. Ive added an opinion, been yelled at, then just said "**** it" ! Ill write to my congressmen. (They are pretty much lined up by party also)

Im amazed and somewhat startled at how much money is being piled on to do experiments with carbon sequestration in geological strata. This aint exactly rocket science but it has opened some kind of funny legal questions. For example, in Pa, Penn STate, in partnership with the DOE and the University of Wyoming is going to be doing a lot of testing at coal mines and several geologic units including the new gas fields. The legal question arising is WHO OWNS THE PORE SPACES? The pore spaces in the rock, are those voids left behind when we take the oil(or gas or water )OUT. So, we have, in essesnce, a resource that can be sold twice , once when we extract the fossil fuel and secondly when we return a slug of CO2 into the same hole. The hilarity of this is that all these potentially sea changing decisions will be rendered in courts located in "New Putzville" or "TUnkhannock" where the legal minds in the towns havent delt with anything more weighty than traffic cxourt for their entire careers.

If I own property and then sell my mineral rights (language says "on extraction" )to a resource(think GAS) company, then who owns the recently evacuated space left so that we can now pump CO2 into the space formerly occupied by natural gas?. Im sure that newsppers (Those that remain) will be sending investigative teams to find out the roots of this world shaking condition.

Maybe I just dont have enough to do so Im becoming interested more in geo-minutae

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Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 10:38 am
My field of study is Aerospace Engineering. For what I can contribute science wise is a understanding of basic atmospheric science (temp and pressure, usually as functions of altitude). Beyond that, I have always been interested in the topic itself and have done a great deal of research into what findings are available.

I first and foremost think that the term "Global Warming" is a poor descriptor for what we are observing. I think it made sense to begin with because what people observed was a warming trend. I much prefer the term "Climate Change."

The main issue with the topic of CC is whether or not (and if so, to what degree does) human factors effect the climate of earth. I personally think that if this was simply a warming trend, I would not think twice. As pointed out earth's atmospheric temperature record shows warming trends/cycles. What makes me feel that human factors could have an effect is that from said record, we haven't seen warming trends like our current one with respect to time. That trend does interestingly lay neatly on the industrialization of our planet.

I've read almost all of the last IPCC report. It's long read... but I think a vital one to understanding what we know and what we need to know more about.

As I read more and more of it, I have developed the opinion that the energy balance of the earth is trying to stabilize itself. Like any system, balance can be either static or dynamic. I believe that the introduction of more man made byproducts has altered the chemical make-up of both our air and sea. Compound that with with man's ability to change natural landscapes (such as redirecting a river or building a damn) will have a dramatic effect on localized systems. I believe all of these factors have a effect on both how our climate heats and cools with respect to time.

I don't subscribe to a "tipping point" theory. That theory would be in my mind a theory that the earth's climate system would not stabilize in a new equilibrium after it is changed. It is my belief that while the earth naturally achieves new balance, we can and are effecting process if earth finding equilibrium.

An example I think is fair is how a desert may be formed by man's choice to redirect a river or build a damn. This new dessert now has no plant life, and has mostly sand or exposed rock. This terrain heats up during the day but cools in the night very rapidly. The new localized heating and cooling trend along with the way wind currents and humidity affect the area will have a effect on other nearby ecosystems. The effect can be on the nearby system's climate as well as it's ecology. An population of larvae may hatch a month earlier leaving a population of some predator hatchlings hungry. This may mean the spread of more disease.

I believe there are serious reasons to believe that man can and does effect the earth's climate. I additionally think too much of the discussion on climate change is focused on the sea level. While, I think that it is a important component of CC, I think that we will be threatened more by other CC effects such as more violent hurricane or rain/thunderstorm seasons.

T
K
O
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 11:48 am
@Diest TKO,
Good post Deist.
Diest TKO wrote:
As pointed out earth's atmospheric temperature record shows warming trends/cycles. What makes me feel that human factors could have an effect is that from said record, we haven't seen warming trends like our current one with respect to time. That trend does interestingly lay neatly on the industrialization of our planet.

And that's a good point. Even though it may be coincident to short term cycles, it also may not be. And the sharp changes in atmospheric CO2 occurring along with industrialization seem a bit TOO coincidental to be easily ignored.

Diest TKO wrote:
As I read more and more of it, I have developed the opinion that the energy balance of the earth is trying to stabilize itself.

While I'm sure that energy systems in physics experiments, when left undisturbed will tend to stabilize, I don't see that happening with the climate systems on Earth. The ice core record alone shows a regular tendency to cycle between extremes rather than stabilize. There are too many irregular natural energy cycles overlapping for Earth ever to stabilize (Sun radiance, Planetary Orbit, Atmospheric composition, Ocean Salinity, Volcano's, Meteor Impacts, etc).

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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 01:29 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
I want to know from SCIENTISTS whether global warming is just the latest fad or whether there is any validity to it.


I am assuming that you are referring to anthropogenic global warming.

Quote:
With the release of the revised statement by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists in 2007, no remaining scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.

Despite this, statements by individual scientists opposing the mainstream assessment of global warming do include claims that the observed warming is likely to be attributable to natural causes.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
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Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Sun 26 Apr, 2009 09:14 pm
If enough countries are in a snit over burning fossil fuels, then developing nations might have to acquiesce to certain high tech energy alternatives that only developed nations have perfected? Plus, if Europe got colder (one theory), then that might dissuade the rest of the developing world from wanting to emigrate to Europe? And, let us not forget that without ice by the Arctic Circle, cargo ships could have an easier trip to some ports.

There are obviously a few positives with global warming, in some people's perspectives. Also, Al Gore can be busy into his senior years.
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