Here Comes the Sun

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New at Reason: Ron Bailey adjusts the heat on global warming.

NEXT: How Will It End?

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  1. Wow, no comments in a hour? After yesterday’s debate I expected a better showing. Ron must have settled the issue. Nice job!

  2. For some reason, links to Reason articles usually seem to generate less commentary than many other H&R blog entries. I don’t know why, but I think you’ll see that’s the pattern!

  3. I haven’t heard global-warming debunkers take on the great glacier melting issue. Is global warming really causing worldwide glacier shrinkage? If so, doesn’t that show that the level of global warming thus far can already have significant effects? (I have my own ideas on how this can be debunked, but I want to hear what others have to say about it!)

  4. I’m concerned with the upcoming polarity flip (or flips, depending on who you believe). I like the Earth’s magentosphere. 🙂

  5. Fyodor:

    Glaciers are not shrinking worldwide – they are shrinking locally. In Alaska, some glaciers have receeded significantly, while others are growing quickly. In general, the Antartic region has seen significant cooling and glacier growth. Here in Washington state, some microclimates have seen glaciers all but disappear, while other areas have seen great growth in ice volume – and this in areas seperated by as little as 10 miles.

  6. So even in the worst case scenario, a 5.8o centigrade temperature rise by 2100, I can’t see how this is a problem for anyone who doesn’t live in Venice or Amsterdam.

    All we know is that things will be different, not necessarily worse. For every drawback, there is likely to be an advantage.

    Why Canada, of all countries, has signed on to this Kyoto business is truly beyond me.

  7. An imbecilic Prime Minister.

  8. If the ice caps melt, won’t there be more fish in the ocean to make sushi? Maybe that’s the hidden agenda of the Kyoto treaty.

  9. Yeah, I just realized that doesn’t make any sense at all.

  10. PLC,

    If you’re still reading this thread, do you have any plausible explanation for these micro effects on glaciers? Or an easily read link to back that up? The idea is rather counter-intuitive, and I doubt I could convince any of my lefty friends of it just based on PLC said so! 🙂

  11. Umm…Is it possible that a small amount of unintentional arrogance guides this “human cause global warming” crusade? Are we really that powerful as people?

    Couldn’t the warming and cooling of the planet be a natural reaction? It’s not like CO2 emissions from SUVs and power plants got us out of the ice age. Now I have to wonder who caused all the global warming back then…

  12. “If you’re still reading this thread, do you have any plausible explanation for these micro effects on glaciers? Or an easily read link to back that up? The idea is rather counter-intuitive, and I doubt I could convince any of my lefty friends of it just based on PLC said so! :-)”

    This opinion piece discusses retreating/advancing glaciers:

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/glaciers.htm

    The money quote from that piece: “And when results for the whole world are combined for this most recent period of time, Braithwaite notes that ‘there is no obvious common or global trend of increasing glacier melt in recent years.'”

    A logical explanation for this is pretty staightforward:

    1) The earth hasn’t warmed very dramatically in the last century,

    2) The warming hasn’t been even…some locations have actually been cooling,

    3) Glaciers depend on snow, which depends on moisture in the air…so if there is more snow from more moisture in the air, a glacier might advance (grow in mass) even if the air above it is a bit warmer, and

    4) Possibly some other reasons…

  13. I remember the global cooling scares in the early 70’s.

    If there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, could it be because there are so many more people on the planet, all of them exhaling??

    If we’re worried about burning fossil fuel, we should be worried about it globally, which means that developing nations better stop developing.

  14. Who listens to even more imbecilic (at times) public opinion polls. Oh please let Paul Martin rescind this nonsense. I’d even consider voting for him.

  15. Ron Bailey wrote: “It is a scientifically established fact that, all other things being equal, extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will tend to trap heat from the sun and warm our planet. But the real question is how much the carbon dioxide that has been added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels will really warm the earth.”

    Kevin Carson remarks, “Finally–something I agree with Ron on.”

    I usually agree with Ron Bailey. I don’t on this. The REAL question is, “How much will the *future* increases in carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases!) warm the earth?”

    Ron Bailey reports how temperatures in the lower troposphere have changed since 1979. He notes that, by Christy’s way of looking at it, temperature has increased by 0.07 degrees Celsius per decade. He also notes that, by Wentz’ team’s way of looking at it, temperature has increased by 0.15 degrees Celsius per decade.

    The problem occurs when Bailey extrapolates both trends for the entire 10 decades of the 21st century. Bailey comes up with 0.7 degrees Celsius and 1.5 degrees Celsius, respectively. These values likely significantly *overestimate* the warming that will occur in the 21st century.

    The reason these values probably significantly *overestimate* the warming that will occur in the 21st century is that the growth rates of greenhouse gas forcing peaked in 1979 (at approximately 4.7 watts per square meter per century), and have been going steadily downward ever since (they are presently at about 2.3 watts per square meter per century):

    http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/gsfc/earth/pictures/hansen010302/figure1m.gif

    Further, it is highly unlikely that the trend will go upward during the 21st century, since a large portion of the peak was due to CFCs (now almost completely banned) and methane (atmospheric methane concentrations appear to have stablilized, so the increase from methane will be approximately zero):

    http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccgg/news.html

    In other words, Ron Bailey’s extrapolations to 2100 of 0.7 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degrees Celsius are probably much too high. A more reasonable estimate would be to multiply those numbers by perhaps 0.6. Multiplying those numbers by 0.6, the expected lower tropospheric temperature rise in the 21st century, based on the last 25 years of satellite data combined with flux increase estimates, would be more like 0.4 degrees Celsius (per Christy’s calculations) to 0.9 degrees Celsius (per Wentz’ teams’ calculations).

    As I’ve posted before, the IPCC’s projections of an increase of between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius for 2100 are a complete crock. They are completely indefensible, scientifically. In fact, there is probably less than a 50/50 chance that the lower troposphere will warm by even 1.0 degree Celsius in the 21st century.

    And the possibility of *cooling* of the lower troposphere from 2000 to 2100 certainly can’t be ruled out.

  16. Mero, isn’t the polarity shift still a few hundred years away? And as I understand it, the worst things about the polarity shift will be a slight incrase in skin cancer rates and possibly increased volcanic activity. Is there anything more cataclysmic predicted?

  17. “It is a scientifically established fact that, all other things being equal, extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will tend to trap heat from the sun and warm our planet. But the real question is how much the carbon dioxide that has been added to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels will really warm the earth.”

    Finally–something I agree with Ron on. In principle, the correlation between CO2 levels and the greenhouse effect is pretty obvious. But the devil is in the details: issues like the minimum threshold for it to kick in, and the shape of the curve when it does. I’m not at all convinced the global warming proponents have adequately controlled for long-wave temperature cycles (like the hot spell of the high middle ages and subsequent cooling period). Let alone the urban heat island effect.

    I had a similar reaction to the “nuclear winter” thesis. When sophisticated mathematical models were worked out that incorporated hemispheric differences, differences between coastal and interior temperature changes, etc., it was considerably less horrendous than the original sensationalistic theory the press picked up on.

    In any case, even if global warming is really happening, the solution is not more statism (like Kyoto). The solution is to stop subsidizing (including wars to provide “an affordable and reliable supply of energy to our economy”) the extensive consumption of energy and transportation inputs.

  18. A good article on global warming and cooling over many centuries is online at:

    http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/06/nclim06.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/04/06/ixhome.html

    An excerpt:

    A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today’s temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather – in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.

    The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called “temperature proxies” such as tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world.

    The findings prove that the world experienced a Medieval Warm Period between the ninth and 14th centuries with global temperatures significantly higher even than today.

    They also confirm claims that a Little Ice Age set in around 1300, during which the world cooled dramatically. Since 1900, the world has begun to warm up again – but has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages.

    The timing of the end of the Little Ice Age is especially significant, as it implies that the records used by climate scientists date from a time when the Earth was relatively cold, thereby exaggerating the significance of today’s temperature rise.

    According to the researchers, the evidence confirms suspicions that today’s “unprecedented” temperatures are simply the result of examining temperature change over too short a period of time.

  19. Even without the looming spectre of global warming brought to us by junk science, fossil fuels still pollute the atmosphere and cause thousands of deaths every year from reduced air quality.

    It’s time for the United States to rely much more heavily on safe(r) clean(er) nuclear power.

  20. Real site for the all people .. have a good continuation!!

  21. EMAIL: krokodilgena1@yahoo.com
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    DATE: 12/10/2003 10:38:18
    After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood.

  22. EMAIL: pamela_woodlake@yahoo.com
    IP: 68.173.7.113
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    DATE: 01/10/2004 01:33:19
    Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.

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