Thursday, March 26, 2009

Global Warming is Real - Like it or Lump it!

Ever feel like taking Rush Limbaugh to the beach; bury him in the sand, (it would take a very large hole) and wait for the tide to come in. It probably won't take long for Limbaugh to be in over his bloated head. Global warming is real and I'm glad we have a President that accepts science instead of the rantings of a lunatic.

Each year I discuss this issue with my class because there are a few folks that get a lot of media attention who claim that scientists are just alarming us all. Well; I'm alarmed, and I'm also appalled by the ignorance of a Rush Limbaugh.

I like to show this chart to my class that is based on very solid science which outlines the level of CO2 in the atmosphere during the past 420,000 years. If Rush Limbaugh or anyone else wants to question the reality of global warming, I challenge them to prove to me that CO2 does not cause a greenhouse affect. What's incredible about the chart displayed is the level of growth in CO2 since the Industrial Revolution. You don't have to be a climate scientist to understand the connection.

Yes; the Earth goes through periods of warming and cooling. This is natural and we are in the portion of the cycle that leads to warming of the planet. Take a close look at the chart. Our last ice age was some 10,000 years ago and was part of a natural cycle of warming and cooling that occurs every 100,000 +/- years. Please note that historic levels of CO2 in the atmosphere never exceeded 300 ppmV until the last 100 years. Since the Industrial Revolution, our planet has coincided with the natural warming cycle but CO2 levels have spiked to unprecedented levels (380 ppmV). CO2 levels have far exceeded previous spikes during the past 420,000 years. If Mike Huckabee or Sarah Palin is listening, this is a little more than your 7,000 year old history of the planet.

This data is built on solid science and can't be refuted. If you want to try, let's hear it? We also know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. If you want to dispute that, let's hear it? We know that greenhouse gasses trap heat on our planet; if you want to dispute it, let's hear it? If you want to dispute any of this argument, you need to watch "Extreme Ice", a PBS special on the melting ice around the world. If after watching this PBS special, you want to take Rush Limbaugh's side, let's hear it?

While some debate the reality of global warming; we continue to lose precious time, and Rush Limbaugh's gas continues to make this planet warmer and warmer.

Pay attention America; this is a serious problem.



  1. OCO is a trace gas. Going from 3/100's of 1% to 4 1/100's of 1% is not going to have any significant impact on climate. The earth's globally averaged temperature has been flat for a decade. There is no global warming. The IPCC's models have failed to predict the current trend, and so are demonstrated as unreliable. There is no proof that manmade OCO causes GW. I will work on sending you proof that it doesn't. Tying this issue to various politicians and/or to political parties in an insulting manner is a disservice to the issue. More CO2 is good for trees! Rick

  2. For some counterpoint to your assertions please see: particularly the article by Dr. Pratt


  3. Thank you: I will look at that site. I have to tell you though, the atmospheric CO2 and the natural earth cycles of warming and cooling is directly linked to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Why is the planet Venus so hot? Scientists agree that it is CO2.


  4. Venus has 100% CO2 at atmospheric pressures in the order of 1000 times greater than earth's. Not really comparable and proves nothing. That CO2 in earth's atmosphere causes GW is an unproved theory - plenty of scientists disagree. Being linked, ie correlation does not prove cause and effect. Your favorate scientists may agree, but they can not prove they are right. By the way, in case you don't know it, that is how James Hansen came to believe CO2 was a problem, by thinking about Venus. AGW is mostly a fraud. Rick

  5. I agree that Venus is not the best comparison, but the science behind measuring atmospheric CO2 over the past half million years is solid. Most scientists agree that small amounts of temperature increases or declines can lead to serious consequences. I'm going to go to your link on Friday when I have time to absorb it. I hope you took a look at the PBS special, Extreme Ice. I know, Our tax dollars at work!!!

  6. Here's another one for you


  7. Hot of the Press:

    Thursday, April 16, 2009
    Last Page: Where Is Science Behind Climate Change Claims?
    By Dave Epstein

    As an environmental advocate I have placed land under conservation and restored habitats. I recycle, reuse rainwater, walk when others drive, and generally leave a small environmental footprint. Yet I am angered by climatologists, environmentalists, and politicians who purvey one of the biggest myths of modern time: that climate change (aka global warming) during the past half century is primarily due to anthropogenic (manmade) causes.

    I know this statement will likely have readers scurrying to fire off rebuttals. Many may point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that says a 90-percent chance exists that the observed temperature increases of the last 50 years are the result of greenhouse gas emissions. The report goes further to say that human activities have begun affecting specific aspects of the climate, such as heat waves, wind patterns, and continental temperatures.

    The IPCC doesn’t conduct its own research or monitor data. Its function is to collect original research produced around the world and synthesize the results. The 90 percent, often quoted by the media, was chosen to draw attention to the panel’s findings and is rooted in no hard data. It is used as the basis for a prediction of global catastrophe, but we should remember that science is hardly infallible.

    Recall for yourself all of the scientific predictions from reputable individuals and organizations that have failed to come to fruition. Here are a few: The Y2K catastrophe on Dec. 31, 1999, the planet running out of oil, Legionnaires’ disease, the bird flu epidemic, solar flares knocking out the power grid, the global cooling of the 1970s, and even Einstein predicting that nuclear energy was “unattainable.” However, now our computer models are trusted to be the definitive predictor of the behavior of the planet’s climate well into the future?

    Here’s what a Ph.D. friend said to me regarding his view about whether man is the major cause of climate change: “Maybe it’s like religion to me. It’s just a feeling, faith, and belief in something I can’t prove but intrinsically I know is right.” Therein lies the problem. The argument about the cause of climate change is not like faith or religion, right or wrong; it’s a scientific hypothesis. Climate models are produced by computers that are fed a series of equations and assumptions and then spit out a prediction of rapid global warming. To date these models have failed to identify the current planetary cooling. In 2006 NASA scientists said the cooling was just a “speed bump” on the road to global warming.

    Many factors contribute to the climate. As I write this (during a Jan Plan at Colby, when temperatures plummeted to minus 25 F) we are in the second-quietest period of sunspots since 1900. The Pacific Ocean remains in a cool phase of a multi-decadal oscillation and actually may contribute to a cooling the planet over the next decade. Long-term climate data indicate that world climate varies naturally, and those cycles are the collective result of scores of interrelated variables, playing out either in consort or not. Volcanic activity, sunspots, ocean currents, global winds, and more interact to cool and warm Earth. Man plays a role, but it is dwarfed by the natural variability of the planet.

    The media support the idea of man-made warming through the omission of important facts. They fail to tell the public that glaciers grew in Alaska in 2008 - the first time in 250 years - or that overall ice coverage in Antarctica has reached an all-time record level. We cannot assume that the data used to report the worldwide temperature warming are accurate. NOAA’s reported October 2008 warm record was thrown out after some of September’s data had “accidently” been used in the calculation. Over the past 20 years, hundreds of colder, former Soviet Union stations have been dropped from the temperature database, leaving a warmer bias in the data. In an ongoing project, Anthony Watts, a former television meteorologist and expert on weather measurement, discovered hundreds of the U.S. observational stations are not compliant with NOAA regulations.

    Examination of past data shows there have been far more alarming temperature trends than we have witnessed recently. As the last glacial period was ending, about 12,000 years ago, and temperatures rose, an abrupt return to glacial cold occurred. This lasted for about 1,000 years and is known as the Younger Dryas. Evidence of the end of this cold period found in ice cores shows where temperatures in Greenland rose 15 F (8 C) in less than a decade. No Hummer caused that meteoric rise in temperature. What exactly is this ideal climate we are trying to achieve? What level of cooling is acceptable? Are we trying to return to the 16th and 17th centuries and the Little Ice Age, where massive crop failure and severe cold were the norm? If we now were in another Little Ice Age, would these scientists urge burning of fossil fuels?

    The entire premise of man controlling the weather or climate will, if left unchallenged, yield rules and regulations as crazy as the very premise on which they will be based. Conserve, preserve, and find alternative forms of energy. But let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because of the fear associated with some unproven hypothesis. See the post here.

    Dave Epstein ‘86 is a television meteorologist in Boston, teaches at Framingham State College, has taught Jan Plans at Colby, and is host of a gardening Web site,


  8. OK; Here is a thought experiment: How many cars are there in the world today. There are 300 million cars in the U.S. There are an estimated 600 million world wide (that number is expected to double in 30 years.

    Now, for ease of math, figure that each car is 6 feet wide. Figure that each parking space is 10 feet wide; 2 feet on each side to open doors. Put all of the cars together, side by side. How many times would you circle the earth?

    You would circle the earth 44 times (the earth is 26,000 miles in circumference and 600 million cars X 10 feet per car = 6 trillion feet / 5200 feet per mile = 1153846 miles / 26,000 mile circumference of the earth and your answer is 44 times.

    Now the average car is traveling 13,000 miles per year. This is neat because you can envision a parking lot, 44 cars deep, that circumnavigates the world and travels 1/2 way around the world in a 1 year time period.

    And people don't think that we are having negative impacts on our planet?

    What do you think?


  9. Remember; I'm just talking about the impacts of cars!

  10. Sorry: A mile is 5280 feet: This would change the answer:
    600,000,000 cars X 10 feet/car = 6,000,000,000 ft

    6 trillion feet/5280 feet per mile = 1,136,363 miles

    1,136,363 miles/26,000 miles around the earth =

    43.7 times around the globe.

  11. To accept an unproven hypothesis as a fact is not scientific. Rick

  12. The graphs didn't come through. Take this link for a better view:


    Global Warming: Natural or Manmade?
    About Dr. Roy Spencer
    Global Warming 101
    Research Articles
    Global Warming Background
    Latest Global Temperatures (Mar.'09: +0.21 deg. C)
    Increasing Atmospheric CO2: Manmade…or Natural?
    January 21st, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
    I’ve usually accepted the premise that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are due to the burning of fossil fuels by humans. After all, human emissions average around twice that which is needed to explain the observed rate of increase in the atmosphere. In other words, mankind emits more than enough CO2 to explain the observed increase in the atmosphere.

    Furthermore, the ratio of the C13 isotope of carbon to the normal C12 form in atmospheric CO2 has been observed to be decreasing at the same time CO2 has been increasing. Since CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning is depleted in C13 (so the argument goes) this also suggests a manmade source.

    But when we start examining the details, an anthropogenic explanation for increasing atmospheric CO2 becomes less obvious.

    For example, a decrease in the relative amount of C13 in the atmosphere is also consistent with other biological sources. And since most of the cycling of CO2 between the ocean, land, and atmosphere is due to biological processes, this alone does not make a decreasing C13/C12 ratio a unique marker of an anthropogenic source.

    This is shown in the following figure, which I put together based upon my analysis of C13 data from a variety of monitoring stations from the Arctic to the Antarctic. I isolated the seasonal cycle, interannual (year-to-year) variability, and trend signals in the C13 data.

    The seasonal cycle clearly shows a terrestrial biomass (vegetation) source, as we expect from the seasonal cycle in Northern Hemispheric vegetation growth. The interannual variability looks more like it is driven by the oceans. The trends, however, are weaker than we would expect from either of these sources or from fossil fuels (which have a C13 signature similar to vegetation).

    C13/C12 isotope ratios measured at various latitudes show that CO2 trends are not necessarily from fossil fuel burning.
    Secondly, the year-to-year increase in atmospheric CO2 does not look very much like the yearly rate of manmade CO2 emissions. The following figure, a version of which appears in the IPCC’s 2007 report, clearly shows that nature has a huge influence over the amount of CO2 that accumulates in the atmosphere every year.

    The yearly increase of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa shows huge natural fluctuations which are caused by temperature changes.
    In fact, it turns out that these large year-to-year fluctuations in the rate of atmospheric accumulation are tied to temperature changes, which are in turn due mostly to El Nino, La Nina, and volcanic eruptions. And as shown in the next figure, the CO2 changes tend to follow the temperature changes, by an average of 9 months. This is opposite to the direction of causation presumed to be occurring with manmade global warming, where increasing CO2 is followed by warming.

    Year to year CO2 fluctuations at Mauna Loa show that the temperature changes tend to precede the CO2 changes.
    If temperature is indeed forcing CO2 changes, either directly or indirectly, then there should be a maximum correlation at zero months lag for the change of CO2 with time versus temperature (dCO2/dt = a + b*T would be the basic rate equation). And as can be seen in the above graph, the peak correlation between these two variables does indeed occur close to zero months.

    And this raises an intriguing question:

    If natural temperature changes can drive natural CO2 changes (directly or indirectly) on a year-to-year basis, is it possible that some portion of the long term upward trend (that is always attributed to fossil fuel burning) is ALSO due to a natural source?

    After all, we already know that the rate of human emissions is very small in magnitude compared to the average rate of CO2 exchange between the atmosphere and the surface (land + ocean): somewhere in the 5% to 10% range. But it has always been assumed that these huge natural yearly exchanges between the surface and atmosphere have been in a long term balance. In that view, the natural balance has only been disrupted in the last 100 years or so as humans started consuming fossil fuel, thus causing the observed long-term increase.

    But since the natural fluxes in and out of the atmosphere are so huge, this means that a small natural imbalance between them can rival in magnitude the human CO2 input. And this clearly happens, as is obvious from the second plot shown above!

    So, the question is, does long-term warming also cause a CO2 increase, like that we see on in the short term?

    Let’s look more closely at just how large these natural, year-to-year changes in CO2 are. Specifically, how much CO2 is emitted for a certain amount of warming? This can be estimated by detrending both the temperature and CO2 accumulation rate data, and comparing the resulting year-to-year fluctuations (see figure below).

    Although there is considerable scatter in the above figure, we see an average relationship of 1.71 ppm/yr for every 1 deg C. change in temperature. So, how does this compare to the same relationship for the long-term trends? This is shown in the next figure, where we see a 1.98 ppm/yr for every 1 deg. C of temperature change.

    This means that most (1.71/1.98 = 86%) of the upward trend in carbon dioxide since CO2 monitoring began at Mauna Loa 50 years ago could indeed be explained as a result of the warming, rather than the other way around.

    So, there is at least empirical evidence that increasing temperatures are causing some portion of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2, in which case CO2 is not the only cause of the warming.

    Now, the experts will claim that this is all bogus, because they have computer models of the carbon budget that can explain all of long term rise in CO2 as a result of fossil fuel burning alone.

    But, is that the ONLY possible model explanation? Or just the one they wanted their models to support? Did they investigate other model configurations that allowed nature to play a role in long term CO2 increase? Or did those model simulations show that nature couldn’t have played a role?

    This is the trouble with model simulations. The ones that get published are usually the ones that support the modeler’s preconceived notions, while alternative model solutions are ignored.

    If an expert in this subject sees a major mistake I’ve made in the above analysis, e-mail me and I’ll post an update, so that we might all better understand this issue.

    Comments are closed.

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  13. I have no doubt that there are natural causes of increased CO2 in the atmosphere. But the fact that humans contribute to that CO2 load is not hypothesis - it's fact. It's easily measured and it was not there 200 years ago. Natural causes of CO2 could be far greater than man-made causes. That is a point to be studied.