Archive for August, 2008

Does Atmospheric CO2 Cause Global Warming?

August 29, 2008

 

The Vostok ice-core measurements show that we are in the fifth inter-glacial period of the last 450,000 years.  Isotopic ratios in the Vostok ice core were used to determine the age of the ice, the air temperature when each layer of snow fell, and the age of the air pockets trapping the CO2.  The charts show a definite correlation between temperature and CO2 concentration.  The temperature difference chart and the CO2 concentration chart resulting from these measurements were the primary evidence shown in Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth”.

 

If you superimpose the chart of CO2 concentration vs the age of the air over the temperature chart vs the age of the ice; the chart shows that the temperature increases before the CO2 concentration increases in most cases and, at the end of the interglacial period, the CO2 concentration lags the temperature decrease by as much as 800 years.  This means that the change in temperature is the cause of the change in CO2 concentration, not the other way around.  This chart also shows that the four previous interglacial periods resulted in maximum temperatures of 2-3 deg above the arbitrary “zero” line compared to the current temperature deviation of 0.2-0.3 deg.  Also, notice that the temperature drops at the end of each interglacial period before the CO2 drops.  If CO2 were the main factor increasing global temperature, the temperature would never drop into an ice age.

 

 

 The chart shows the CO2 lag at the end of each ice age.  In addition, the temperature at the beginning of each ice age drops, sometimes dramatically, at the beginning of each ice age long before the CO2 concentration drops.  If the CO2 was the cause of the increase in temperature, there could never be an ice age because the CO2 would keep the temperature high.  The change in temperature is what causes the change in the CO2 concentration.

 

 

 

 

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A New Global Warming Skeptic

August 24, 2008

“Global Warming” has become the latest political football with the politics ignoring the science (on both sides of the issue).  There are several questions that need to be answered scientifically, not politically. First, is “Global Warming”, i.e., an increase in global average temperature, really happening?  Second,  if the global temperature is actually rising, is it due to anthropogenic causes, such as the increase in the concentration of Carbon Dioxide?  Has the concentration of CO2 really increased to the extent claimed; i.e., from 280 ppmV to 370ppmV?  What about the “hockey stick”?  Is it possible to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels enough to have an effect on CO2 concentrations without causing a worldwide catastrophe?  Would global warming be harmful or beneficial?  What is the maximum extent of possible warming, whether anthropogenic or otherwise?

 

I agree with efforts to be more fuel efficient and to attempt to be independent of Middle East oil, but “Global Warming” is not an appropriate means of accomplishing that, and a legislative mandate will result in shortages and high prices.   I’ve heard several people ask “What’s the harm in mandating conservation based on Global Warming, even if global warming is not occurring or that all of the causes are natural?”  After all, conservation efforts have many other benefits including reductions of other environmental contaminants, cost savings for most people, etc.  We have already seen a few very detrimental effects; first, the diversion of corn from food use to fuel production (ethanol) has resulted in increases in the cost of both fuel and food; second, the ethanol program has diverted land use from other agricultural uses and forests to grow corn; and the emphasis on mitigating Carbon Dioxide has diverted resources away from legitimate environmental efforts.

 

Even worse than the above is the probability of very expensive lawsuits and expensive settlements; the detrimental effect on First Amendment rights through the call for prosecuting skeptics and deniers as criminals making good science impossible since science depends on skeptics; and one of the worst things I’ve heard is the encouragement of children to be climate cops (which is very close to the NAZI youth programs).

 

If CO2 is proven to be benign in terms of global warming, the push for conservation on this basis loses credibility along with the Agency and all of those pushing for reductions (“the boy who cried wolf”) and it’s an extremely expensive misdirection of effort.  If the real anthropogenic contributor is something else (such as an increasing area of asphalt and black roofing or soot on glaciers causing them to melt), the emphasis on CO2 wastes resources which could be used to eliminate these other effects.