Captain Hybrid

Global Warming: Are the Skeptics Right?

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: it probably won't happen
Rob Spiegel   2/14/2012 3:26:54 PM
Good point, Doc. Concerns about this actually date back to the late 1800s in London. The budding industrial revolution changed the nature of the clouds over London, according to observers. Add 125 years to that.

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Re: What are the facts?
Island_Al   2/14/2012 3:11:40 PM
The size of the planet, atmosphere, and volumes of oil are not engineering statistics, they are facts.  Science is about facts, not expert opinions.  We as humans actually know very little.  But again the experts are asking me to sacrifice based, not on fact, but their opinions!  They may indeed be correct, but first, show me the science!


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Re: What are the facts?
Cassiopeia   2/14/2012 3:02:04 PM
We Americans are both the best educated and wealthiest people in the world. I guess we--with exceptions--value our money more than our education

Well America is the largest economy, (excluding the European Union) 10-15th ranked in GDP/capita, and has many Nobel laureates and the top ranked Universities.  However, as we can see on this board, education is not evenly spread.

At the bottom end America has people living in cardboard boxes and unable to get basic health-care and a majority of the population who believe in creationism or intelligent design, including Roy Spencer, one of the handful of sceptic climate scientists! 

Which of the Following Statements Comes Closest to Your Views on the Origin and Development of Human Beings?

Unfortunately, if people can be convinced of creationism they can be manipulated into believing AGW is a fraud as well.  Now how does that happen?

In 1991 the Western Fuels Association, National Coal Association and Edison Electric Institute was given $510,000 to test its messages in key markets, it identified two targets

 "Target 1: Older, less educated males".
These people, ICE said, would be receptive to "messages describing the motivations and vested interests of people currently making pronouncements on global warming – for example, the statement that some members of the media scare the public about global warming to increase their audience and their influence...."

"Target 2: younger, lower-income women"
"... These women are more receptive ... to factual information concerning the evidence for global warming. They are likely to be "green


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Statistics Can be Manipulated to Support Your Conclusion
ACEngineer   2/14/2012 2:56:14 PM
Look, the reason that we are getting warmer is because there was a "Little Ice Age" in the middle ages that we are still coming out of.  It was warmer prior to that.  The Earth has seen very warm periods and very cold periods throughout the ages.  There are fossilized remains of tropical plants on Antartica.  If you only look at the last few hundred years, there is global warming, but overall, the worlds climate has been warmer and colder and people are self dillusional to think that they are so important that humanity controls more than a slight affect on the world.  Maybe if the "Global Warming Community" would all hold their breath then they would keep all of that hot CO2 from getting into the atmosphere and making it so hot!  It was -31 in Tulsa Ok last year which is the coldest ever recorded and 117 in the summer (hottest ever recorded).  Russia and Eastern Europe are haveing the worst winter ever recorded.  "Ever recorded" constrains the data to fit my conclusion when I know that it has obviously gotten hotter and colder in the past.  Grow up people and focus on creating new and better products and let the loons yell that the sky is falling!  You have 40 years to generate good designs in the world and the climate is what it is for the 60-80 years you will have the opportunity to enjoy it.  Figure out a good use for CO2 if you ar ethat worried about it so you can make something productive instead of gnerating more of it with your mouth!

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Re: What are the facts?
bdcst   2/14/2012 2:35:52 PM
Where to begin?

When throwing around engineering statistics such as volume percentages keep in mind that our weather is a non linear function.  Indeed, the butterfly effect, a very tiny disturbance at the right time can trigger a major event that would otherwise dissipate harmlessly, can throw those numbers out of kilter.

We do not have sufficient statistical history to predict climate change cycles of which there are, no doubt, many overlapping varieties.  We can't even predict how much longer our planet will remain relatively hospitable to human habitation.  For much of Earth's history it wasn't!

When will the magnetic poles flip again?  How much energy is flowing out of the still moulten core to the surface?  What is the present rate of leakage of thermal energy into space and how has it changed in the past 100 years?  Maybe those alien UFO's know, but we don't.

What do we know?  Our relatively short measurement history shows a warming trend if the extremes are allowed to average out.  Our measurements of sea ice show a trend towards significant loss.  Will this continue or will it ultimately cycle back when other conditions are met?  Our research into our pre-history using ice boring samples, sediment samples and even the growth rings from some of our ancient trees have given us some clues.  What we do know is our atmosphere is changing somewhat, nature is fickle and space ship Earth could turn on us making for some very difficult times ahead.

Instead of pointing fingers at who or what is to blame we should be engaging in discussions about how we can learn to control our climate or at the very least plan for the inevitable changes that will greet our decendants.  Gifted with powerful minds we are the stewards of this planet and should start to act as such!




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Re: What are the facts?
Jeff_A   2/14/2012 2:35:23 PM
One concern for your analysis is the implicit assumption of uniformity in the atmosphere.  I have been to islands in the tropics with few cars and very little air pollution.  I've been in big cities in the US and other continents with loads of pollution.  I know I am conflating CO2 with visible pollution, feel free to call me out on that, but my point is that different places have different pollutant concentrations.

My simple observation on climate change, not global warming,  is from my own lilfe.  I grew up in the midwest, Chicago area plus or minus 150 miles.  As a teenager, there was ice and snow on the ground beginning in October to November and staying until April.  Relatives and friends who still live in that area now, 40 years later, tell me that the winters are much more mild and that snow hasn't stuck around like that for years. 

With all kudos to the CO2 fans (like sports fans, not like centirifugal or axial), I don't think the mesurements of high atmospheric concentrations by reliable scientists could either be drylabbed, faked, or explained by natural phenomena.  If I'm wrong please explain. 

I think it is important for us as engineers to separate what is accurate data from the political impact of what is accurate data.  In God we trust, all others bring data.  N>30 preferred. Let's get reliable data, then figure out what to do to maximize our current situation and prepare for a future for generations to come.  Wherever you stand politically,you will probably agree with me that the engineering and scientific community will come up with any solutions to problems that society has. We better have accurate data to make reasoned decisions.


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2 inch rise in 16 years?
WhEEngineer   2/14/2012 2:17:56 PM
Run for the mountains!  Build an Ark!  The sky is falling and the world is flooding!

Really, you brought up the change in clothing in the past 50 years.  Natural warming and cooling cycles happen throughout the eons and animals and plants on the earth have survived.  I don't spend all my waking thoughts on a minimal addition of gases to the atmosphere or lay awake nights dreading the 'what if's'.

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What is CO2?
WhEEngineer   2/14/2012 2:01:00 PM
Plant food.

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Re: What are the facts?
Island_Al   2/14/2012 1:40:38 PM

Correct.  It is not logical.  Until one does the math.


Radii of earth ~3950 statute miles

Area of a sphere = 4*pi*(radii^2)

A = 4*pi*(3950^2)

A = 196E6 square miles

Depth of breathable atmosphere is 3 miles, but I'll use 2 miles ~ 10k feet

Volume in this thin shell is A * 2 =~ 392E6 miles^3

One cubic mile of air = 5280^3 = 1.5E11 cubic feet

Times the earth atmosphere volume = 5.7E19 cubic feet.


So now lets talk sweet crude.  They distill it and get various gases, gasoline, diesel fuel, and at the bottom we asphalt.  The fuels are hydrocarbons.  Burning fuels with oxygen we mainly convert HC into C02 (carbon dioxide), H2O (water), some CO (carbon monoxide), and a small amount of nitrogen compounds.  Plants use the CO2 and the H2O eventually turns to rain or snow.  But in the following, we will say that the entire drum is just dumped into the atmosphere.


One gallon of oil has a volume of 231 cubic inches.

Using your 40 million barrels for 365 days a year times 50 years I calculate:

7.3E11 barrels

Times 55 gallons per barrel = 4E13 gallons.  Multiply by 231 = 9.3E15 cubic inches.

As there are 1728 cubic inches per cubic foot we get 5.4E12 cubic feet of oil.


The ratio of atmosphere to oil used the past 50 years is:

5.4E12 / 5.7E19 = .000000094 or 9.5 parts per 100 million!


So lets scale this to a 10 lane Olympic size pool 164 feet, by 82 feet, by 7 feet deep. This contains 99, 187 cubic inches of water.  In the past 50 years we have polluted it by adding about 3 to 4 drops of oil.


Politicians are calculating, engineers simply calculate.



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Re: What are the facts?
ktgunn@aethon.com   2/14/2012 1:30:31 PM
I appreciate very much your comments and find them both familiar and revealing.

"What were they wearing" is a glib non-issue. I state as VERIFIABLE FACT that those who live in northern climes will tell you one and all that they have personally experienced significant climate warming over their life times. I have.

I offer also as VERIFIABLE FACT that the greenhouse effect is real and that CO2 has the effect of raising temperature of an "atmosphere" subjected to sunlight radiation.

I offer also as VERIFIABLE FACT that humans burn about 40 million barrels of oil per day year round now and have done so for decades (40 million now, less earlier of course). As burning oil releases CO2, which has a demonstrated capability of increaing the temperature of an atmosphere subjected to sunlight radiation, I conclude that the action of man has the capability to contribute to warming.

I have no beliefs in this regard. I have the facts and have been trained to draw conclusions from observations and data. It is impossible not to conclude that human activity does contribute to the warming of the globe, the only issue how strong a factor.

But the MOST interesting part of your reply and the most familiar as well is;

"Just don't demand I pay for your beliefs."

Isn't that the crux of the matter. Those who fight the idea that human action may be contributing to the warming of the globe, a verifiable fact, are afraid that...it will cost them money to deal with it? All logic, all interest in scientific inquiry, all the education and training in logic is pushed aside because...it might cost you money if the wrong fact is uncovered.

We Americans are both the best educated and wealthiest people in the world. I guess we--with exceptions--value our money more than our education.


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