“Global warming” is a real phenomenon. The Earth’s temperature is increasing, and that has been happening for a long time. The temperature of the earth has been increasing more or less continuously since the time of the cave man.
Approximately 18,000 years ago the earth began a gradual process of warming up after more than 100,000 years of Ice Ages. Much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice. By about 15,000 years ago the earth had warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers, and sea levels worldwide began to rise. By 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bering Strait was drowned, cutting off the migration of men and animals to North America.
Since the end of the Ice Age, Earth’s temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet! Forests have returned where once there was only ice.
From a geological perspective, global warming is the normal state of our accustomed natural world. Technically, we are in an “interglacial phase,” or between ice ages. The question is not really if an ice age will return, but when. But, that said, totally refuting the imaginations of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.
Don’t panic when you hear global alarmists warning the earth may have warmed almost 1 degree in the last 200 years. Although this still hasn’t yet been proven, it is in fact exactly what should be happening if everything is normal.
If Global Warming stops, then you can start worrying! It means our warm interglacial phase is over and we may be heading into another Ice Age!
ANIMATED GLACIER: Courtesy of Illinois State Museum
The “Greenhouse Effect” is realand contributes to global warming.
The “greenhouse effect” helps to moderate temperatures — especially nighttime temperatures. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of the Earth would be -18 degrees C.
Greenhouse gases allow sunlight to pass through Earth’s atmosphere, but as sunlight strikes the earth it is partially changed to radiant heat. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor/droplets, and methane help inhibit the escape of radiant heat back into space.
That is why the danger of nighttime frost is greater when the skies are clear than when skies are cloudy.
The main causes of global warming are orbital eccentricities of Earth and variations in the Sun’s output. Global warming occurs in cycles caused mainly by changes in the sun’s energy output and the sun’s relative position to the earth. Solar flares emit incomprehensible amounts of energy in various forms. One such electromagnetic eruption knocked out the entire power grid of Quebec for nine hours. A flare directed at Earth could easily shutdown the power to an entire hemisphere. Heat generated by such massive current flows can instantaneously raise ground temperatures several degrees in seconds. Other types of flares emit heat as radiant energy in the infrared spectrum. It is totally beyond reason to presume that any human initiative can alter or effect global temperature cycles.
Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts
(1) Astronomical Causes
- 11 year and 206year cycles: Cycles of solar variability( sunspot activity )
- 21,000 year cycle: Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun ( precession of the equinoxes)
- 41,000 year cycle: Cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit ( tilt)
- 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity )
(2) Atmospheric Causes
- Heat retention: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor (not droplets), also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases– the “greenhouse effect”
- Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps
(3) Tectonic Causes
- Landmass distribution: Shifting continents (continental drift)causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. It seems that whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth’s poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
- Undersea ridge activity: “Sea floor spreading” (associated with continental drift) causing variations in ocean displacement.For more details see:
http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/enviro/EnviroRepublish_233658.htmThe Greenhouse Effect is caused primarily by water vapor.Over 95% of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. But because water droplets held in suspension (clouds) make almost as good a reflector as they do a thermal insulator, there is little rise in daytime temperatures due to the greenhouse effect.Any greenhouse warming, if it does occur, is limited to primarily increasing nighttime temperatures, which provides beneficial moderation of nighttime low temperatures, but no increase in daytime high temperatures. Dr. Patrick Michaels, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, has demonstrated this phenomenon very effectively.The world’s natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined.Global Warming in the United States over the last 100 years has seen temperatures rise < 1° C.Temperatures have gone through nearly two complete cycles of warming and cooling over the last 100 years. During the period 1900 to 1940 temperatures were increasing. Then from 1940 to 1980 temperatures were decreasing. Currently, temperatures are increasing back to about where they were in the 1930’s.Overall, the total average annual temperature increase in the U.S. in the last century is so slight the actual amount is uncertain– maybe 1/3° C.
There is less than 1/10th of 1% carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere today.
Carbon dioxide is such a small component of Earth’s atmosphere (380 parts per million or 0.038%) that it shows up on the chart below as only a thin line (shown at 2x actual thickness, just so you can see it!). Most CO2 comes from natural terrestrial and ocean biologic activity, and compared to former geologic times, Earth’s atmosphere today is arguably “CO2 impoverished.”
Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time
Late Carboniferous to Early Permian time (315 mya — 270 mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today (Quaternary Period ).
Temperature after C.R. Scotese http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm
CO2 after R.A. Berner, 2001 (GEOCARB III)
There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example:
During the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today.
The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.
The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.
According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal gas that trees and other plants need to survive, just like oxygen (O2) is the principal gas that humans and other animals require. Trees absorb CO2 and release O2– animals inhale O2 and exhale CO2. The Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle order enabling life had to exist before the flora and fauna it sustained.
Earth’s first, primitive forests made their prolific debut 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous Period . Before then, the atmosphere held far more CO2 but concentrations declined throughout the Carboniferous Period as plants flourished.
During the Carboniferous Period the atmosphere became greatly depleted of CO2 (declining from about 2500 ppm to 350 ppm) so that by the end of the Carboniferous the CO2-impoverished atmosphere was less favorable to plant life and plant growth slowed dramatically. Today, CO2 concentrations are barely at 380 ppm (0.038% of our atmosphere) and most of that comes from entirely natural sources.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is not to be confused with its poisonous evil cousin carbon monoxide (CO), which can kill humans and animals in just a few minutes. Life as we know it could not exist without carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Recent studies indicate CO2 enrichment of 1.5 times the present amount in the atmosphere increases photosynthesis by 45%.
Carbon dioxide is invisible. The puffs of clouds you see from coal-fired power plants are just that– clouds. Powerplants use steam to drive the turbines which generate electricity. Steam must be cooled and condensed to water to reuse it to make more steam.
The fat, curvy towers that look like they are belching white smoke are really only emitting pure water vapor. They are in effect making clouds.
The actual exhaust emissions come from the smokestack, which is the tall skinny tower. Because modern technology makes it possible to remove much of the fly ash and sulfur before releasing smokestack gases to the air, smokestack emissions today are often almost invisible.
The following temperature record shows that natural variations in global temperatures occur in roughly 500-years cycles. The primary cause of these variations in global temperature is due to the cycles of the sun and Earth’s orbit about the sun. In addition to 40-year cycles and 500-year cycles, other temperature cycles include:
- 21,000 year cycle:Elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun (precession of the equinoxes)
- 41,000 year cycle:Cycle of the +/- 1.5 degree wobble in Earth’s orbit
- 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity )
CHART INFORMATION and SOURCE: Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in ° C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record
In 1989 as the Cold War and the threat of nuclear war were winding down, the Union of Concerned Scientists began to circulate a petition urging recognition of global warming as potentially the great danger to mankind. The petition was eventually signed by 700 scientists. Only three or four of the signers, however, had any involvement in climatology. Richard S. Lindzen, MIT
President Clinton and others cite a letter signed by 2600 scientists that global warming will have catastrophic effects on humanity. Thanks to Citizens for a Sound Economy, we know now that fewer than 10% of these “scientists” know anything about climate. Among the signers: a plastic surgeon, two landscape architects, a hotel administrator, a gynecologist, seven sociologists, a linguist, and a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine. Global Warming Treaty is All Pain, No Gain —Malcom Wallop.
Over 17,000 scientists have signed the Global Warming Petition to express their view that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
Reference: (1) U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007; U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, December, 2007.
The temperature measuring method that most accurately measures global warming is orbiting weather satellites. Since about 1979, each day satellites measure the temperature over about 80% of the globe to an accuracy of about 0.1 degree C. Weather balloons only make measurements at specific locations that are concentrated mostly over land (1).
The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about 5 kilometers up. If global warming is occurring from an increasing greenhouse effect due to CO2 additions by humans the temperature of the middle troposphere should be warming faster than Earth’s surface (2,3). However, the opposite has been happening– which suggests either the surface temperature records are in error or natural factors, such as changes in solar activity, may be responsible for the slight rise in surface temperatures (approximately 0.6° C, globally) that appears to have occurred over the past century.
Interestingly, in the 5 years leading up to 2007 the temperature of the mid troposphere has actually decreased slightly and surface temperatures have ceased warming— even as CO2 concentrations have continued to increase (4). This should not be happening if CO2 increases to the atmosphere are the primary driver of global warming.
Atmosphere Surface -vs.- Satellite Temps View a close-up image. View a close-up image. Image courtesy of NASA Image courtesy of NOAA (4)