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Old 08-31-2007, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,235 posts, read 3,777,798 times
Reputation: 397

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For those who will forgive me for going off on rants, I'd like to present the following imaginary scenario.

Still reading? Thank you!

Suppose that we were heading into a new ice age, as climate scientists predicted before they discovered the impact of global warming.

Suppose that global warming theory is true.

Is it possible that our mistakes could lead to the prevention of what would otherwise have been a catastrophic cooling of the world? Most of the industrial productivity that the world depends on is located in cooler climates that would be most heavily impacted by a new ice age. Maybe we're doing the right thing by heating the atmosphere...???

Then again, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the melting of Greenland and the Arctic could shut down the Gulf Stream, thus leading to the collapse of Europe as we know it.

I like to use my imagination. In that imagination, I can see that we truly don't know what we're doing or what will happen. Looking at paleoclimate and recent measures of thousands of variables, it seems that we have no clue what's going to happen. The realm of the unknown is fun if you enjoy imagination. I can envision both the accidental salvation of humanity via global warming, and our extinction via the same mechanism. But it's not up to me, or any of us, to say what will happen. People spend their entire lives trying to model this stuff on computers using all the data they can compile, but if we can't forecast the weather 10 days in advance then it's a safe bet that we have NO CLUE what will happen with global climate over the next century.

Thus, I raise a glass to everyone in this thread. We're all correct and we're all wrong. We share the common bond of having no clue what's going on.
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,841 posts, read 19,056,487 times
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TheHarvester wrote:
We share the common bond of having no clue what's going on.
That much we all have in common. Who can argue with that?

blessings...Frranco
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:32 AM
 
458 posts, read 780,317 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plains10 View Post
According to the evidence I have seen the CO2 concentrations increase and the temperatures increase a short while after. It is a lag affect. Steps should be taken to reduce man-made carbon dioxide because the levels of CO2 are now at a very high level according to historical ice core records. However, how will the efforts to reduce CO2 work when the developing world wants to emulate the US? The climate is getting warmer, ice cover is shrinking, invasive species are moving further north. I am moving further north as well.
Let's just chill. The planet will be fine, most life on it will be fine. However mankind's existence might be a little more questionable. This is not about saving the earth, its about saving our comfort zone.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:58 AM
 
6,760 posts, read 11,663,059 times
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If there is a direct relation between CO2 and temperature increases, the rise in temperature from the beginning of the industrial revolution should be either linear, or at the very least somewhat linear. Its hard to imagine that we really haven't warmed up very much at all since the first 3 decades of the 1900's. The amount of CO2 being produced by man has SKYROCKETED since the late 30's-early 40's, yet the temp increases went away for a while only to reappear in the 1980's. Not enough consistency there, and IMO, this could just as easily be the warming of the northern continents that is part of the thawing out after the little ice age.

There are too many things missing for us to pursue CO2 legislation while ignoring other environmental problems that aren't as questionable. We do know the cure for some environmental ills, and those should be the ones that we are attacking, with legislation that already exists but is not being used properly: the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Both of those give us the tools we need to clean up America, yet they are under used and business continue to push toxins into our waterways and airways while the whole world debates CO2 as if it is mustard gas.
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Old 09-04-2007, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
269 posts, read 1,246,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnbound2day View Post
If there is a direct relation between CO2 and temperature increases, the rise in temperature from the beginning of the industrial revolution should be either linear, or at the very least somewhat linear.
No, that's too much oversimplification. Your own everyday experience tells you that some time lag is to be expected. When is your local weather warmest every day? In general, it's in the afternoon, not at solar noon (and solar noon isn't the same as clock-time noon, either). It takes a while for the earth/water/atmosphere around you to respond to the solar warming every day, as things soak up heat and come up to temperature. The same argument holds for your daily minimum temperature, too; that happens in the pre-dawn hours, not at midnight, as the earth/water/air radiate heat away all night.

So rather than strict linear progress, there's likely to be some hysteresis, but how much isn't obvious. And there's room for other feedback mechanisms as well, so the problem isn't going to be amenable to reduction to simple 1-d linear analysis, no matter how much we might wish that it was. Including all the mechanisms is what the models are supposed to be about.

The characterization of CO2 levels as "skyrocketing" may not be quite right either. The Mauna Loa Observatory results are here, and just eyeballing that graph (taking due note of the suppressed zero point), it looks like it's gone from about 315 ppm to 385 ppm since the late 1950s. That same chart makes it clear that that change is much larger than the min-max of the normal annual cycle, but it takes more information than just that graph to decide whether to be alarmed or not.
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:44 AM
 
6,760 posts, read 11,663,059 times
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I was referring to human produced CO2 going up dramatically, and yes, you are correct, it hasn't gone up in a linear fashion at all. This shows that there are plenty of other feedback mechanisms at work besides human production of CO2, which IMO means we should continue to learn more about it before enacting legislation that is somehow supposed to be like putting a thermostat at the white house for us to control planetary temperatures.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,235 posts, read 3,777,798 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winkelman View Post
...mankind's existence might be a little more questionable. This is not about saving the earth, its about saving our comfort zone.
Perfectly summarized. Some other species will be affected negatively, but that opens up new ecological niches for new species.

The world is not going to come to an "end" until the sun eats it up in a couple billion years. I don't expect any of us will be around then, so we don't need to worry about that.
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