Your thoughts on global warming? (in Off-topic)

RedWolf August 27 2007 3:11 PM EDT

I just finished reading Michael Crichton's novel State of Fear and it was very interesting indeed. He brought up some good points about some things, including global warming, wildlife preservation, the power of the media, etc. If you're ever looking for a good, modern day, technological thriller, check out this book, or any of his books for that matter.

Before I read this book, my thoughts on global warming were probably just the same as everybody else's... carbon dioxide levels are increasing too much, causing the "Greenhouse Effect", melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, etc. But now I'm not so sure anymore. So I did some more research, and found this.

Note: Obviously, it is extremely easy to find evidence that supports global warming. I was specifically looking for evidence that went against global warming for the purpose of this thread. And yes, some of it did come right from Crichton's novel.

All graphs are from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

First and foremost, I'm not saying the Earth isn't getting warmer. I still believe it is, just very very subtly, and for different reasons than everyone thinks.

Here's some facts for you:

1. Global temperatures have only increased by about a third to a half of a degree Celsius in the last 100 years.

2. Sea levels are rising at a rate of 1.8mm per year. At that rate, we might lose some nice beaches... in a few hundred years...

3. Earth's atmosphere consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.03% carbon dioxide, and the rest is other trace gases like hydrogen, neon, ozone, etc. Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 316 parts per million to 376 parts per million. That's about 0.0025%. Is it possible for such a small difference to suddenly cause a worldwide phenomenon such as "global warming"?

Next thing is, the Earth warming up and rising carbon dioxide levels has been happening since the Earth was born. Look at this graph, which shows CO2 levels and temperatures from 400 million years ago.

The Earth goes through periods of glaciation and different "ice ages" about every 100,000 years. Then it heats up, then glaciates again. We are just coming out of an ice age, so naturally the Earth should be warming up.
Of course, all that is estimated, so nobody can know for sure, but it supports my argument so I'm going with it ;-)

And there's one more thing... if you still believe that humans are behind "global warming" then it might be because of urbanization in general, not carbon dioxide specifically. Here's some more graphs for annual temperature records for some major cities around the USA.

The temperatures are rising... but it could just be because of more people and more skyscrapers and concrete rather than carbon dioxide levels. Now look at the records for these smaller, rural towns:

Ellsworth, Kansas

Kodiak, Alaska

Guthrie, Oklahoma

There's something called the "heat island effect" which I won't go into detail about, but you can read about it here. It basically says that the land and air around large cities is warmer than surrounding countryside due to more people, skyscrapers, and concrete. So if enough large cities are heating up their surroundings, it will obviously raise the average temperature of the Earth by a small amount.

And just so you don't think I'm only talking about the USA, here's some more graphs for large cities and rural towns around the world, if you're interested.

Large cities:

Buenos Aires, Argentina
London, England
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Moscow, Russia
Hamburg, Germany
Paris, France
Vancouver, Canada
Bangkok, Thailand
Beijing, China

Smaller towns:

Colonia, Argentina
Cape Hooper, Greenland
Clyde, NWT
Tabligbo, Nigeria
Ostrov Kotel, Russia
Alice Springs, Australia
Vostok, Antarctica
Halley, Antarctica
Scott Base, Antarctica

So, after you've read all that, what are your thoughts on global warming now?

RedWolf August 27 2007 3:14 PM EDT

And for those of you too lazy to read the whole thing, here's a summary. Global warming is not a problem to get worked up about, its a natural cycle of the Earth of warming, cooling, warming, cooling, so humans are not at fault. And if humans are in fact at fault, its not because of carbon dioxide levels. Rather, it is most likely because of the building up of large cities and the "heat island effect"

QBOddBird August 27 2007 3:17 PM EDT

Yes, that's the counter-proposition on glaciations and interglaciations, the current one of which is called the Holocene. I studied it last semester. Yay being informed! ^_^

I still keep to my current theory, which is that I won't live long enough to care, and neither will any of my immediate family.

48Zach August 27 2007 3:22 PM EDT

One thing..

Good thing those charts aren't for the Stock Market :)

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] August 27 2007 3:31 PM EDT

Water Vapor > CO2 anyways

[me]Davis August 27 2007 4:01 PM EDT

i think Al Gore made it up and soon its gonna turn into an anti-smoking campaign cause its all their faults haha

Mem August 27 2007 4:06 PM EDT

Firstly, George Bush tells me that the proper term is "global climate change." Next, I don't believe that anyone is in doubt about the fact that global climate change does occur, save for some Nazis (Remember the whole Jews buried the dinosaur bones theory?). Global climate change does occur, and the proof is contained deep within the surface of the earth. The question at hand is whether or not we humans are accelerating that change, and, if so, are we accelerating it beyond the normal point, to a breaking point that is irrevocable, such as is the case on Venus with its greenhouse effect.

I've also read State of Fear, and I believe that Mr. Crighton is a wonderful novelist, although a bit eccentric. I'm not certain that I can agree with him entirely, because at this point, as was the case with the Multivac and all his descendants in Isaac Asimov's "The Last Question", there is "insufficient data for a meaningful answer." This means that at this point in time we don't know enough to speak of this "problem" with any sense of objectivity, so what's the use in bandying about our opinions with nothing to back them up with? That said, I am a firm proponent of preparing for the worst, and I would not want to be part of a generation that has destroyed this lovely place I call home-- Earth. It's true, we humans do need to be more conscious of our environment. We do need to think about the effects our creations are going to have before we just go blindly into it. Whether or not "global warming," as we term it, is happening, we should still be mindful of the hurt we're putting on our home. It's just the "right" thing to do.

[me]Davis August 27 2007 4:09 PM EDT

mem, you've been waiting for a time where you could reference "the last question" haven't you haha

RedWolf August 27 2007 4:17 PM EDT

Yes, Mem, I never said we should be careless about our environment. I also enjoy the outdoors, camping, hiking, sightseeing, etc. and I would hate for it to all be gone one day. Nor did I deny that global climate change was occuring. "First and foremost, I'm not saying the Earth isn't getting warmer. I still believe it is, just very very subtly, and for different reasons than everyone thinks."

I just tried to point out some of the arguments that go against "global warming" since everybody seems to think it is such a big problem, when it quite possibly could not be a problem at all.

Mem August 27 2007 4:23 PM EDT

"The question at hand is whether or not we humans are accelerating that change, and, if so, are we accelerating it beyond the normal point, to a breaking point that is irrevocable, such as is the case on Venus with its greenhouse effect."

I can agree that the uninformed would believe that global warming is the issue, although I believe I clearly stated the real issue with that statement. Again, that's only the uninformed, lazy, and narcissistic general public. Unfortunately, that comprises the majority of the human population, but I cannot stress enough that global climate change is normal. The thing is that we haven't had all our fancy machines around since the last change occurred, so we have absolutely nothing to base our infinitesimal knowledge of such events on a scale that would represent the present.

Brakke Bres [Ow man] August 27 2007 4:27 PM EDT

aaah smallpau i see you are one of those kind.

RedWolf August 27 2007 4:30 PM EDT

Yes, I agree with that too, Mem

Adminedyit [Superheros] August 27 2007 4:36 PM EDT

The Earth has been consistently warming since the last ice age. Remember that at one time this entire planet was a huge jungle filled with giant lizards.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] August 27 2007 5:46 PM EDT

Yea, its new name is Global Climate change, because it's going up and down. Grade school science, climate is never stable, its always warming or cooling.

smallpau1 - Go Blues [Lower My Fees] August 27 2007 6:24 PM EDT

"Well, since we're using models to predict the future--and the only way you can predict the future is to use models--the important question is: Can these models be validated by observations? And the models very clearly show that the climate right now should be warming at about the rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade, in the middle troposphere, that is, above the surface. But that's not what the observations show. So until the observations and the models agree, or until one or the other is resolved, it's very difficult for people--and for myself, of course--to believe in the predictive power of the current models. Now, the models are getting better. And perhaps in ten years we will have models that can be trusted, that is, that agree with actual observations."

Let's go back to the basic physical principles. People like John Tyndall did experiments in the nineteenth century, where he filled tubes with different gases and found that certain trace gases--CO2 and also gases like water vapor-- had the ability to block infrared radiation. And that basic physics suggests the natural greenhouse effect takes advantage of this, suggests that part of the reason we have the climate we have is because of that, and that if you added to it continually and for long enough, you would increase the optical thickness of these gases and, therefore, would trap more heat in the system. From that standpoint, you don't deviate, do you?

"There's nothing wrong with the basic physics. There's nothing wrong with laboratory physics, with measurements taken in the laboratory. They can be made very precisely, and under controlled conditions. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is not a laboratory that you can put into a building and control. The atmosphere is much more complicated.

For example, as carbon dioxide increases, you would expect a warming. But at the same time that you get this warming or this slight warming, you get more evaporation from the ocean. That's inevitable. Everyone agrees with that. Now, what is the effect of this additional water vapor in the atmosphere? Will it enhance the warming, as the models now calculate? Or will it create clouds, which will reflect solar radiation and reduce the warming? Or will it do something else? You see, the clouds are not captured by the models. Models are not good enough to either depict clouds or to even discuss the creation of clouds in a proper way. So it's not possible at this time to be sure how much warming one will get from an increase in carbon dioxide.

I personally believe that there should be some slight warming. But I think the warming will be much less than the current models predict. Much less. And I think it will be barely detectable. Perhaps it will be detectable, perhaps not. And it certainly will not be consequential. That is, it won't make any difference to people. After all, we get climate changes by 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some places on the earth. So what difference does a 1-degree change make over 100 years?"

- Fred Singer

Mem August 27 2007 6:25 PM EDT

Those giant lizards lived long before the last ice age. In fact, they lived millions of years before the last ice age. It's all just a Hollywood myth that right after the dinosaurs became extinct there was an ice age that Homo sapiens came to be in. False!

Mythology August 28 2007 7:51 AM EDT

Four possible outcomes :

1) There is no global warming, we spend billions trying to combat the "bogie man", put ourselves back a couple of years economically and technologically.
2) There is no global warming, we dont do anything about it any way. Life continues on as normal.
3) There is global warming, we spend billions trying to combat it, it may be too late but the process is slowed, the crappy times are made not so bad.
4) There is global warming, we dont do anything about it, world goes to hell, society as we know it collapses, generally bad times all round.

imo, the cost of 4) far outweighs the cost of 1)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] August 28 2007 8:01 AM EDT

Oh man, I hope for number 4! It's only second to a Zombie Invasion!

Bring it on! :D

AdminG Beee August 28 2007 8:13 AM EDT

If global warming becomes too much of an issue Jon will either do a rescale or bring out Earth 2. No worries...

Zoglog[T] [big bucks] August 28 2007 8:26 AM EDT

Or create a bonus for the new generations so that they can catch up to the changing environment

RedWolf August 28 2007 1:52 PM EDT


QBOddBird August 28 2007 2:09 PM EDT

That's a LIE, Mem! There are still Dinosaurs, and they are alive and breathing! They live on Isla Sorna....they almost killed Dr. Grant...I watched it all...

Mem August 28 2007 2:18 PM EDT

Hold on to your butts...

AdminShade August 28 2007 5:41 PM EDT

I'd say put a global ban on volcanoes...
This thread is closed to new posts. However, you are welcome to reference it from a new thread; link this with the html <a href="/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=002CYO">Your thoughts on global warming?</a>