Global Warming / Climate Change

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Red Elvis, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    I've toyed with this on the Election Thread and latterly on the Snow one.

    Here's my position: Is global warming occurring ? Yes , I believe it is , mostly as a result of bounce-back from the last Ice Age.

    Has anthropogenic / man made activity contributed to this ? Quite possibly , although I believe the extent of this is debatable.

    Is it a sensible thing to look for alternative to "dirty" fuels ? Eminently so.

    Should we seek to protect animal / plant life from the ill-effects of industrialisation / human activity - of course.

    My contention is very much based around the extent to which any debate on the subject has been sidelined by the lobby that takes anthropogenic global warming as an absolute given and seeks to stifle any debate to the contrary.The label of "denier" is applied to those that would take an opposing view .This article here discusses the attempts by some to equate Climate change denial with holocaust denial -

    Similarly , it appears that the proponents of AGW have adjusted findings and apparently hidden e mails and other evidence to the contrary , at least if you believe the view of this blogger -

    ( It's a Daily Telegraph blog , and Delingpole is a terrible right-wing shill on most subjects but he does point out some aspects of the debate that are not otherwise covered in most arenas ).

    I'd be interested to hear the views of tmp'ers on this , particularly those with a scientific background.

    MoominDave has posted eloquently in support of the consensus behind global warming / climate change in the snow thread, and rightly points out that the science is complex .As I have said in reply to him , my argument is not so much with the original concept but with the way in which the subsequent debate / argument has been managed in the media.

    What's your view ?
  2. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Climate change is real.

    Despite the current cold spell in the UK, this year is again probably going to be globally one of the hottest 3 on record (balance our cold spell with the fatal heatwaves/forest fires/flooding etc that have occurred elsewhere).

    The exent of human involvement in climate change is indeed speculative, but circumstantial evidence suggests activities during the industrial revolution and beyond to have massively influenced the natural temperature swings.

    Expectations - Massive change WILL come. Maybe next decade, maybe next century, maybe next millenium but it WILL come.

    What should we do?

    Everything we can to minimise the change personally (reduce energy consumption + recycle) as this will SLOW DOWN the changes (and buffer effects for our direct descendants), BUT ALSO

    everything we can to start educating oncoming generations in both future (advanced sciences) and PAST technologies / skills - the evidence suggests that a combination of altered environment, third world population expansion and reduced resources (food, water, energy sources) will probably result in a massive alteration in our species' ecology in future generations.

    As a species we need both to maximise our resources through scientific research but also retain our ability to form small self sustainable units in case of possible/probable (ultimately inevitable) catastrophes (Massive volcanic eruption, Asteroid strike, Ice age, Unrestricted nuclear war)

    Learning to split the quark is laudible, but remembering how to grow corn and farm sheep/cows naturally is equally important.


    BVSc., CertZooMed., MRCVS..
  3. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Thanks Ron.

    As I said , its particularly good to hear the views of those with a scientific background and I note your qualifications in this respect.
  4. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Must admit I'm not coming from mainstream metrologist/ecologist direction, but I'm a veterinarian with a strong ecological perspective.

    As we stand at present, we could already lose most, if not all, amphibian species in the next 50-100 years as a consequence of altered disease susceptibility/resistance not seen until the last 15 years. Your grandchildren may NEVER see a frog, toad or newt.

    As a confirmed direct and CONFIRMED consequence of Human activity Vultures and Condors are likely to become extinct in the next couple of decades without significant efforts at conservation.

    Such a massive threat of extinction of whole orders / suborders has to start ringing some sort of alarm bells. Something serious is wrong with our environment whether we are causing it or not and we need to be looking hard at what that might be..........
  5. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    First of all, let me state that even though my Masters Degree is in Environmental Science (and I teach Environmental Science at a secondary school), my main focus was on moth sampling techniques, so what I write is my opinion, with a lot of questions and skepticism that I hope to follow up on now that I have more time in my schedule.

    Global Warming - not sure if I'm sold (at least on the man-made bit)
    Obviously as you head out of an ice age things will warm-up.
    We are certainly headed out of the ice age from about 10,000 years ago, and have not head back to the next one (haven't check out my Milankovich cycles lately, so I don't know when they would be normally due to occur). BTW...there is Lots of good evidence on melting in Antarctic from Dr. Lonnie Thompson (@Ohio State :D).
    The big question I have is...even if more heat is getting to the planet, it wouldn't really warm-up until ice has melted, right? That's simple chemistry/phase change/heat of fusion stuff.

    Global Climate Change
    Is climate changing. IMHO...definitely! As Ronnie the Lizard mentioned, amphibians are some of the first to be hit, the Golden Toad in Costa Rica is a prime example.
    Snow in the UK and Europe match climate change predictions (and hardly seem like warming I'm sure). Desertification in many areas match predictions. More major weather incidents in the world (e.g. Hurricanes near the western Atlantic). Extreme temperatures in summer AND winter in many places. There is an obvious shifting of biomes (Sweet Tea has moved up from Georgia to Ohio, the Canadian rock group Rush has documented the Oaks dominance of the Maples further north as far back as the late 70's :p)

    I don't know if fossil fuels are all to blame...but I do suspect other human activities...irrigation, deforestation, removal of vegetation can change some weather patterns. ENSO seems to be more frequent as well.

    I think it is most important to keep an open mind, and be skeptical of all data. I think persuasion with data by omission is an issue we especially have to watch out for!

    Oh yea, and be sure not to anthropomorphise animals...they don't like that!!
  6. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    All I know is that it's been brass monkeys during the last week, and I would welcome a bit of Local warming.
  7. Bob Sherunkle

    Bob Sherunkle Active Member

    Yeah its all very well for Ronnie as no doubt he is up to his armpit in a nice warm cow's @rse!
  8. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    It's so sad when you hear things like this... Animals and plants are dying out because of what humans are doing so future gerations will never see the wonderful wildlife we were lucky enough to see, if that is we were actually lucky enough to see them.

    There's loads of rare raptors I'd do anything to see, as would many bird watchers, but unfortunately the efforts being made here to save these bird are not working due to hunting in places like Malta.

    The things about vultures etc is shocking! Millions of them are dying every year. A once common bird only 10 or so years ago is becoming an extremely rare sight... Worst of all this is not a one off story, it's happening with many, many species of animal all over the world! Even the birds of Britain are suffering. 98% of wildflower medows have been lost in this country alone; Reedbeads, forests and so many more are being lost... Thing is though, most people won't notice until it's too late...

    I find it really sad that stuff like this is happening in my life time despite the warnings from conservationists.

    On the subject of global warming / climate change, yes it is happening and we really need to do something about it before it's to late!
  9. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Evolution requires species to die out and especially when they are replaced by a new improved version. No doubt it will happen to the human race one day too.

    As for climate change, fluctations will happen, but I doubt very much that humans have anything to do with it.
  10. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    My degree was in physics, and I've forgotten 90% of it by now, so not sure if it qualifies me to have an opinion on anything!
    FWIW I think there's a lot of human arrogance involved in the whole global warming debate on both sides. Scientific method demands that you present proof that can be peer-reviewed and more importantly repeated by someone else totally independent of you - I've yet to see this happen with human-caused global warming. Massive campaigns by organisations as large as the United Nations have been based on nothing more than a mis-quote of some research done by someone who did the scientific equivalent of sticking their finger in the air and seeing which side went cold.
    When meterologists can't even tell you with any great certainty what the weather is more than 48 hours ahead I think you should treat with great skepticism any claims to predict what may happen years from now.
    That said there is no doubt that human actions have destroyed various large parts of the environment, for greedy, ignorant, lazy and selfish reasons, and those actions cannot be reversed. So we should try to do as little harm as possible, recycle, use sustainable materials, etc, etc. However it ain't so easy to tell a poor 3rd world peasant who relies on destroying his local environment for his very survival to stop it.............
    When looking at any claims of human global warming - ask yourself this - where is the money going?
    Al Gore has made an absolute fortune off the back of it, and he's not the only one. Every government is looking for an excuse to tax their population, and HGW has given them a golden opportunity to do so...currently in the UK 81.5% of the pump price of petrol is tax.
    So if you're looking for facts or a sensible debate on global warming anywhere in the media, or government, you'll struggle.
  11. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    The human caused climate change argument is a convenient argument.
    It is convenient to the socialist green lobby as it allows them to achieve their anti-business, anti-globalisation objectives.
    It is convenient to governments because it gives a reason to raise taxes.
    It is convenient to governments as it is a driver to introduce new energy technology when fossil fuels are becoming scarce and more expensive
    It is convenient for the worlds fauna and flora as renewable energy is less destructive to them.
    It is convenient for universities and other research bodies as a funding stream. Lower your scientific rigour and give the 'convenient' answers to government and the funding will continue.

    Is climate change happening? - of course and it always has and will continue to do so. Is it man made - unlikely, human activities are insignificant compared to the effect of normal global geological and biological processes.
  12. John_D

    John_D Member

    Without the existance of heavy industry and the internal combustion engine, what is there to blame the end of the last ice age on?
  13. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    There is evidence, though, that we have burnt the hole in the ozone layer which isn't exactly going to help matters much...
  14. Getzonica

    Getzonica Active Member

    Evolution also requires variations in species and the suvival of the fittest (ie the weaker creatures and plants to die) but this takes time... It took millions of years to get the creatues and plants we see today (oh and the ones we've already killed off...) Trouble is we're not giving them time to adapt. We're just killing off all of them regardless of whether one is more able to suvive than the other, so they won't adapt - the species will just disappear if we don't stop...
  15. KenIrvin

    KenIrvin Member

    Has anyone thought what impact the Clean Air Act has had on the atmosphere. Surely now the air is cleaner mor warming rays are getting through hence Global Warning.
  16. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    And there was a report a month or so back saying that the hole had almost gone now. :rolleyes:
  17. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Clean Air might allow more radiation to the Earth's surface, but more of it will reflect and bounce back into space (much like a clear day in the summer let's more heat it, but it also escapes at night).

    The problem is when we have greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, extra water vapor) that still allow radiation in our atmosphere and won't let it out.
  18. still learnin

    still learnin Member

    I'm sure that I read an article recently that suggested that a huge percentage of greenhouse gasses are created by volcanoes and that the man made element is insignifcant by comparison. I didn't imediately get onto google to cross reference the data it contained, does anybody on here have any scientific evidence that proves or disproves that volcanoes are by far the biggest contributor? However, I do get concerned that deforestation has upset the natural balance of things but....... I also imagine that there were a lot less trees during the ice ages as well and the earth recovered!

    Getzonica, I definitely read that the hole in the ozone layer was repairing itself!
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I suppose I should comment on this thread, as I seem to have sparked it, accidentally...

    For the record, I find forum debates on this subject depressing. No one here (unless there actually are any climatologists in the audience who are senior enough in their field to have a real intuitive feel for the overall patterns?) has a scooby about enough of the details for their opinion to be worth anything, however much enthusiastic Googling they may do. And that certainly includes myself. There is so much misinformation out there, driven both by enthusiastic ineptitude and wilful political axe-grinding, that trying to inform oneself in an amateur way is often more harmful than remaining in a state of ignorance... What a sad state of affairs. The fruits of this poisoned tree of knowledge are already present in this thread.

    I am baffled by the confidence with which some people assert that warming has nothing or little to do with humans. Do people who do this not think that the professionals will have had the same thoughts they are having - but decades ago, prior to spending careers researching the effects while discussing non-stop with other such researchers? I diagnose an unsensible lack of humility in those who assert such things.

    So thanks for the thought Phil, but I shall be doing my best to stay away from this one. It's a discussion far too prone to people assuming positions of faith.
  20. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    This matches what I would have expected in theory (doesn't mean it is correct)

    "T.M.Gerlach (1991, American Geophysical Union) notes that human-made CO2 exceeds the estimated global release of CO2 from volcanoes by at least 150 times. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere"

    From the Dept of Geological Sciences at San Diego State University

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