- Politics and Social Issues
Global Warning Environmental Disaster?
Is the earth getting significantly warmer?
It's all over the news - this is the hottest summer ever, in the decade, in the last 5 years. So is the world getting warmer and what, if anything can we do about it.
Global Warning has become a Religion not Good Science
Global warming has become the new religion - elections are won and lost over it, its accepted on faith my most of the media and therefore many people that
a) global warming exists and is significant
b) global warming is bad;
c)global warming is created by human activity.
Check the long-term climate change for US States
- NCDC: US Climate at a Glance - Statewide
US Statewide Analysis of Precipation and Temperature by NCDC
Its taken as gospel, and I use the religious term deliberately, that global warming is proven and that humans burning of fossil fuels have increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 insulates the earth - preventing heat escaping from the upper atmosphere - hence global warming - simple, straightforward - but unproven.
Global warning has become an article of faith - so therefore closer to religion than science. Science involves taking a hypothesis and rigorously examining it until its proven - up until then its still an a hypotheses which is what anthropogenic global warming is. Although in some areas average temperatures have increased over the last few decades that is not exactly proof that either human activity has caused the change or, in fact that the change in temperature is significant to the planet or the human race.
Climate is not Stable
The world's climate changes, has always changed and its natural that it changes. It changes both on long, 100,000 year cycles and shorter, much shorter cycles. Some of the change is predictable, some is not.
Since the last ice age which finished in the Northern Hemisphere approximately 10,000 years ago the earth, has been gradually, in general, warming. The ice sheets have melted and retreated northwards and allowed the development of farming across much of North America and Europe where formally the only way to survive was as hunters and gatherers.
Why has the world been getting, in general warmer for the last 10,000 years? The climate of the planet is complex and not completely understood. There are complex interactions between the earth, the atmosphere, and the sun. As far as current science understands the most significant effects on the climate on earth are
The earth orbits the sun in a not quite perfect ellipse - sometimes its further from the sun than other times. The earth's poles aren't exactly at right angles to the ellipse that it describes around the sun - sometimes one hemisphere is closer to the sun than the other, and then the sun it self- wobbles slightly as it spins. Taken together the precession of the equinoxes, obliquity and eccentricity of the Earth's orbit are believed to be responsible for the 100,000 year cycle of ice ages observed in the geological record. Sun activity. The amount of radiant energy from the Sun varies periodically, principally on an 11-year solar cycle.
Dark Ages Triggered by Indonesian Volcanoe
- 535 AD - Volcano Krakatoa Explodes - The Dark Ages Start - Science is put on hold.
For many years, humans forgot their glorious past and huddled in a state of ignorance and fear.
Karakatoa, near Sumatra, Indonesiais known to have erupted in 1883 with the violent volcanic eruption in recent history. In 1998 the explosion was heard 3,500km away in Australi and the plume of ash rose to the height of 80km and blocked out the sun. It is possible that it was Karakotoa erupted even more violently in 535AD setting in motion events which precipitated the start of the European Dark Ages including revolution and the bubonic plague.
Putting Climate into Perspective
The climate varies: from year to year, from decade to decade from millennia to millennia The problem is perspective - do you remember that when you were a small child and you were told that next year you would go to school that seemed like an unimaginable long time to wait When you were 25 and had been with your partner for 2 years that seemed like a long time too. Now I am in my 40's it seems like yesterday I was in my 20's - I believe from those older than me that the effect continues to accelerate - as our brain lives through more and more time the subjective time line speeds up.
Now lets look at historic time: accurate records on weather and rainfall have been kept for a little over 100 years -there are few people alive in the world who were born prior to accurate record keeping in places such as the US. The Romans conquered the local British tribes approximately 2000 years ago. Already we can't imagine 2000 years, probably because the average human doesn't live past about 80 years. Now lets step it up a bit, in geologic time - Homo Sapiens developed about 100,000 years ago, the earth itself has been around for about 4,600,000,000 (4.6 billion) years . If the whole history of the planet is compressed into 24 hours then mankind has been around for about - 1 MINUTE!
Humankind has been around less than 1 minute!
Why did the Viking Settlement of Greenland Fail ?
- The Fate of Greenland's Vikings
The disappearance of the Greenlanders has intrigued students of history for centuries.
It was only 1100 years ago where Greenland was populated. It was called Greenland because it was green. There were crops, there were cattle there. It is generally accepted that when Eric the Red colonised Greenland and named it in the 10th century, it was warmer than today. This was proved when archaeologists found a stone house of the early settlers under permafrost. Global warming commenced again at 500BC, there was an excess of food and great empires such as the Ashoka, Ch'hin and the Romans grew.
Contemporary records and Roman clothing shows that conditions were some 5C warmer than today. There is a well documented time between 900AD and 1300AD known as the Medieval Warm Period. This was followed by a mini-Ice Age which saw the Thames regularly freeze so hard that it could be used as a road and a fair ground for months.
When the Thames at London Froze
- The Thames frozen over - The Thames - London History
n 1515 the ice on the river was strong enough to bear carriages, and many passed over between Lambeth and Westminster, but unfortunately it is not said what sort of carriages - coaches did not come into use until a later date.
- The winter of 1739-40 - The Thames - London History
The winter of 1739-40 was one of the most severe ever remembered, and from the long continuance of the frost from Christmas Day, 1739, to February 17th, 1740, when it began to thaw, but very gradually,
Are we Destroying our Climate?
In the context of this centuries long change you can start to appreciate that to talk about climate change of 5 or 50 or 100 years is meaningless - in the same way that a trader in the middle of a stock market crash can't tell whether the worst is over or yet to come - we lack perspective. Yes there have been huge changes in our lifetime, but accurate records go back less than 150 years - we can't change that. So yes there is defiinitley been climate change, and if there wasn't we would probably still be living in caves, hiding from the European ice sheets.
Is human activity causing this change? I don't know, but I do know that until we stop taking global warming as an article of faith and remember how to good science it is unlikely that we will find out.
- ScienceDaily: Global Warming News
Global Warming Research. Learn about the causes and effects of global warming. Consider possible global warming solutions. Read predictions of rising sea levels, coral reef bleaching and mass extinctions climate change may cause.