"Only a handful of experts really understand this complex problem." Really? Am I the only one to notice PhDs are wrong from time to time? Many years ago an EE prof spent an hour explaining why sat dishes could be no smaller than 5 meters in diameter due mainly to thermal noise in the transistors. The Chairman of the Fed Reserve a few years back explained why a housing collapse could never occur. Dr Langly explained in 1903 why manned heavier than air craft could never be build without a huge change in technology only proved to be wrong by a couple of non experts a few months later. Endless evidence abounds the expert opinions can not be trusted, yet so many treat their utterings as coming from God himself. My own non PhD opinion means little except for the people whose lives can end suddenly if I screwup in an equipment design in an airplane. In short any claim of expertise in any field should be taken with a very large grain of salt. No exceptions anywhere.
I'm not suggesting that the bottle experiment is an exact replication of atmospheric events, only that it shows a positive temperature coefficient. Re the plants, no one suggests that plants do well without CO2, but in this case it was about increases of CO2, and it showed that plant did really well, so well in fact that they had enough energy to spare hat they made poisons. Researchers also found that at the CO2 levels that will be apparent. In 40 years wheat may not have enough protein to be used imaging bread. So wit protein in our food dropping and sugar increasing (yes plant make more sugars in a high CO2 environment ) we can look towards getting fatter. It will make easier to sit back in our arm chairs and say it isn't happening.
This is one more area where a bunch of people who have another agenda are playing with data to make it fir their conclusions. It does seem that quite a few of the temperature recording stations fail to meet the basic standard for location away from things that woud affect the temperature measurement. So it is fairly clear that without good data it is hard to draw correct conclusions. That sad reality has been verified in industry a few times. And how much should data be manipulated? "Windowing" and "binning" and other techniquestend to force the fit somewhat, and they are probably dependant upon the desired results, as well. My point is that good data does not need to be manipulated: just plot all of the points and see what the graoh looks like. A wide band can certainly indicate a trend, although it will have trouble producing high resolution results.
Has anybody considered that perhaps global warming causes more carbon dioxide to be produced? If the "green house gasses reflect heat back to the earth, do they also reflect incident heat from outside the earth's atmosphere? Andis it possible that the trend in sunspot activity being different this past cycle could indicate that the sun is putting out more energy? How long have scientists been able to measure the incident energy to 0.1% accuracy? And have they been measuring it at all?
There are a whole lot of hard questions that must be adequately answered before we should accept that we must surrender our way of life.
Of course it is always a good idea to be efficient in our energy useage, and always right to avoid polluting the place, and it is always good to conserve resources. But I don't want to live in a cave and eat rocks, so there needs to be some compromise.
You make many good points about the rape of the environment (I could have gone there but wanted to keep the post from rambling), but I have to disagree with you on climate change.
The peer-reviewed science is clear, and many of the "experts" who deny it are either educated in disciplines totally unrelated to climatology (or even physics!) or are paid by the fossil fuel industry to "support" the view that there is disagreement, or both. Are the climate models perfect? No. Can the predict exactly how hot it will get and when? No. Can they predict the trend and the rough order of magnitude of the changes? Yes.
Of course we have to improve our sustainability across our civilization, reduce our use of landfills, increase recycling, and all the other things you mention. But the biggest potential crises facing us today are the availability of fresh water and reliable production of food (both of which are heavily dependent on weather, and hence climate change).
Ultimately, the problem is population, not standard of living or even per-capita energy demand. But since 1980 or so, the right-wing christians have been pushing back against UN population control efforts (they oppose not only abortion but even birth control) and these efforts were mostly supported by US funding of the UN; the religious right in the US has successfully lobbied congress to cut back on this funding, even labeling such efforts "racist" because most of the developing world, which is the source of the population problem, happens to be non-white (the fact that the truly racist colonial conquest - rape - of most of the world was responsible for whites being the wealthy minority is conveniently ignored). As a result, birthrates have continued to increase putting ever more stress on the earth.
Perhaps you fear the important stuff is being swamped by the climate change argument; I prefer to say that these are all important pieces of the problem and that we must work toward solving all of them incrementally but as quickly as possible.
The biggest problem with the whole climate change/global warming debate is that it is a debate - highly emotive and emotionally charged, with many on each side with an aggenda and vested interests, and with money/wealth and power playing no small part, although rarely acknowledged publicly!
You are right the planet's climate is changing - it is continually changing and has always been changing.
Can mankind affect the climate? - certainly!
Do we understand how we are affecting the climate and the consequences? - rarely!
Can anyone guarantee that if we make all the changes the advocates espouse that the climate will return to what it was some hundreds of years ago? - No!
Should we continue along the same mad ride we have been on? - No? We have a responsibility to our children to care for our planet ....
We cannot prove to what extent human activity has influenced worldwide climate, nor can we say difinatively if it is a problem or not.....
What can be seen by anyone who cares to look is that we are surrounded by ever increasing pollution and environmental damage, and that, we can do something about, and in some respects and aspects effective action is being taken, however the pollution worldwide continues to increase.
If we can all make a concerted effort to reduce all pollution
- solids - landfill,
- liquids - chemicals, toxic and otherwise,
and work on reducing and recycling all these by-products and waste materials of our civilisation we may be able to avoid drowning in our own pollution and actually restore some of the envirronment to a state similar to how it was before we raped it.
This is a more immediate challenge. The climate change debate is a distraction, it focusses much energy and emotion on something which cannot be defined or ultimately proven either way, and ...... it takes the global focus off the real problem -
which is our attitude to the environment every moment of every day - do we choose to live sustainably, eat packaged foods, discard the packaging, kill the soil with our wastes - the chemicals bound up in the packaging we discard - the environmental cost of manufacture of all the 'things' we surround ourselves with and regularly discard and replace instead of repairing .... I could go on but you get the picture....
Science depends on good data. When the CRU files were leaked I went through one of the scientists log files who was responsible for compiling one of the climate datasets, and the comments were disturbing.
OH %$^ THIS. It's Sunday evening, I've worked all weekend, and just when I thought it was done I'mhitting yet another problem that's based on the hopeless state of our databases. There is no uniform data integrity, it's just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they're found.
I am seriously close to giving up, again. The history of this is so complex that I can't get far enough into it before by head hurts and I have to stop. Each parameter has a tortuous history of manual and semi-automated interventions that I simply cannot just go back to early versions and run the update prog. I could be throwing away all kinds of corrections - to lat/lons, to WMOs (yes!), and more.
Now, this is a clear indication that the standard deviation limits are not being applied. Which is extremely bad news. So I had a drains-up on anomauto.for.. and.. yup, my awfulprogramming strikes again. Because I copied the anomdtb.f90 process, I failed to notice an extra section where the limit was applied to the whole station - I was only applying it to the normals period (1961-90)!
Probably the worst story is temperature, particularly for MCDW. Over 1000 new stations! Highly unlikely. I am tempted to blame the different lat/lon scale, but for now it will have to rest.
If I fix that, I get:...14 stations LESS than the previous exercise. That'll do, surely? It's not going to be easy to find 14 missing stations, is it? Since the anomalies aren't exactly the same. Should I be worried about 14 lost series? Less than 2%. Actually, I noticed something interesting.. look at the anomalies. The anomdtb ones aren't *rounded* to 1dp, they're *truncated*! So, er - wrong!
The problem is that the synthetics are incorporated at 2.5-degrees, NO IDEA why, so saying they affect particular 0.5-degree cells is harder than it should be. So we'll just gloss over that entirely;0)
So, under/cru/cruts/version_3_0/fixing_tmp_and_pre/custom_anom_comparisons, we have a 'manual' directory and an 'automatic' directory, each with twelve 1990 anomaly files. And how do they compare? NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!
This shows me the quality of data climate science works with can be poor. There needs to be rigorous peer reviewed climate data collection standards (which won't improve the historical data.. like for example, which stations had concrete jungles grow around them, how were they calibrated (including traceability) etc) The raw data must be publically released (then it can't be fiddled with later)
"I am no where near schooled or well-enough read to profess any kind of substanitive opinion on the reality (or not) of global warming."
This is precisely the problem with most of the posters here. And can we keep the bible quotes and the "beliefs" out of the discussion? There is no room for arguments about simple experiments that can "prove" or disprove climate change.
The overwhelming scientific evidence shows that the earth's mean temperature is increasing in lockstep with the increase in atmospheric CO2, and has done so historically for many hundreds of thousands of years.
Saying the earth has been hotter in the past is a canard; at one time it was so hot thatliquid water could not collect on its surface. Does that sound comfortable to you?
Saying that nature is so vast that man can't possibly have an effect on it is also ludicrous. Modern technology allows one person in an industrialized nation to conume more energy in one day (largely by burning non-renewable fossil fuels) than many humans consumed in a year during most of human history (mostly by burning renewable wood). And the population, historically rarely over 100 million or so before the industrial revolution is now over 7 billion and growing. And they all want iPads and washing machines and clothes driers and dishwashers and hot water heaters and cars. Admittedly, all 7 billion + don't have those things yet, and are unlikely to, but numbers of people having these things are big enough to drive massive environmental changes.
Yes, it will be expensive to convert to renewable energy, but the rest of the world is doing it, and we can either do the engineering that will make it possible (energy efficiency, solar, wind, tidal, wave, ocean thermal, etc.) or some engineers in India or China or Africa will do it and they'll be the next billionaires while we in the West will sit in the mud and curse the darkness.
It is easy to pull up ice cores and paint all kinds of hypotheses to support a particular position. It is another thing to say with any degree of certainty what caused the particular evidence being evaluated. Unfortunately this is as much their religion as it is science. They are driven by beliefs that are just as deeply engrained as any religious beliefs.
On another note, I feel that it is ironic that the very people that believe the earth to be billions of years old also believe that suddenly in the span of several decades that something as insignificant as mankind can completely upset the balance of something that is supposed to have existed for so long in a relatively steady state. Do you not believe that there are massive balancing forces in nature that counteract the relatively minute changes that are perpetrated on the earth by man?
I believe the forces of nature are much larger than man. As an example, the emerald ash borer is a very tiny harmless looking bug that is in the process of turning literally Billions (yes billions with a B) of ash trees in the midwest into rotting piles of what used to be living carbon repositories. There is currently not much hope that we are going to be able to stop the little critters from sending ash trees into extinction. Are we going to blame man for that? What will the effect of billions of tons of rotting (or burning) ash trees have on the environment? Are we going to call that man made?
I believe that if there is any anomaly in the current climate, the earth will respond in a way that corrects it without the intervention of man.
tekochip wrote, "The CO2 cycle requires life to move the CO2 around and humans are contributing much more CO2 than the rest of life on Earth can consume." My question is based on what evidence that humans are contributing more CO2 than the rest of life can cosume? Atmospheric CO2 is only 0.039445% of the total composition. So, how much is too much? The so-called models DO NOT accurately predicate anything. A lot of misinformation has and is being presented as fact.
I bought my son a weather book that shows the earth's temperature over geological time scales and it paints a very interesting picture. There are periods in the past where the earth was much warmer than it is now, and there was no technology, no humans, and definitely no man made carbon emissions. And of course there were times when the earth was much colder.
What are the long cycles of this planet? We just do not know. Sputnik went up just 55 years ago. We do not have enough data over a long enough period of time to determine if the few thousands of a percent of CO2 that man is contributing to the atmosphere is really having an effect.
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