Curiously absent global warming debate

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Threads dealing with Taiwan's history belong in the Culture & History thread. Please do not post articles - use links instead. Quoted sources should be limited to one paragraph in length, or less. If you see a post that you feel is against the rules, you can send a report to the moderators so we can look into it

Re: Curiously absent global warming debate

Postby Charlie Phillips » 18 Feb 2012, 17:31

I'm as against pollution and environmental degradation as much as any other ex-hippie, planet-loving humanist can be. I can't claim to be against global warming per se, as I have a morbid fear of global cooling. A new ice-age would be the end of most of us and ice ages have occurred several times and in relatively recent history.

However, the global warming fizzle is not a purely Taiwanese phenomena:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203935604577066183761315576.html?fb_ref=wsj_share_FB_bot&fb_source=profile_oneline
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Re: Curiously absent global warming debate

Postby Fox » 18 Feb 2012, 18:42

Charlie Phillips wrote:I'm as against pollution and environmental degradation as much as any other ex-hippie, planet-loving humanist can be. I can't claim to be against global warming per se, as I have a morbid fear of global cooling. A new ice-age would be the end of most of us and ice ages have occurred several times and in relatively recent history.

However, the global warming fizzle is not a purely Taiwanese phenomena:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203935604577066183761315576.html?fb_ref=wsj_share_FB_bot&fb_source=profile_oneline


We are still in the Ice Age Charlie. Glacial periods occur like geological clock work every 11 to 12000 years, we are over due by most reckoning. That's why the earth is getting hotter. It heats before glacial periods. The heating effect creates the cloud cover necessary to cool the earth or so I've read. Since earth's temperature is essentially a quasi static equilibrium it is possible for the equilibrium to switch to either a dramatically higher or lower sustainable equilibrium. Earth has a pattern of switching dramatically between glacial and intergalcial periods within just a few short years.
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Re: Curiously absent global warming debate

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 21 Feb 2012, 19:34

Fox wrote:We are still in the Ice Age Charlie. Glacial periods occur like geological clock work every 11 to 12000 years, we are over due by most reckoning. That's why the earth is getting hotter. It heats before glacial periods. The heating effect creates the cloud cover necessary to cool the earth or so I've read. Since earth's temperature is essentially a quasi static equilibrium it is possible for the equilibrium to switch to either a dramatically higher or lower sustainable equilibrium. Earth has a pattern of switching dramatically between glacial and intergalcial periods within just a few short years.


Not trying to be a dick or anything, but you're source of info for the above is...well, read on.

The main force behind ice ages and warming periods are the fluctuations in the Earth's orbit and spin. These things together are referred to as the Milankovitch cycles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

1) The Earth's axial tilt
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axial_tilt
2) Precession
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession
3) Eccentricity of orbit (elliptical orbit)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccentricity_(orbit)

It works out to where the Earth gets a small ice age once every 40,000 years on average, and a bigger one once every 100,000 years. However, there are some even smaller fluctuations like the Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age. There is actually some debate over what causes these minor events - anything from solar storms (or lack thereof), a "methane burp" (which would warm the climate) to a volcanic eruption (which would cool it), but these are short-lived events.

The bigger news is that the Earth has been on a steady cooling trend for the past 50 million years -with ice ages and warming periods occurring during that time, but overall a cooling trend. The cause is plate tectonics, which (among other things) soaked up huge amounts of carbon dioxide and turned it into calcium carbonate. The most significant movement of the plates that did this was the collision of the Indian subcontinent with the rest of Asia, causing the Himalayas to rise. I know that sounds crazy, but it's not. Here's a link if you want to know more:

Plate Tectonics and Climate
http://my.opera.com/nielsol/blog/2008/1 ... nd-climate

By burning fossil fuels, we are in the process of rapidly returning all that carbon dioxide to the atmosphere that the Tibetan plateau nicely soaked up for us. And we are doing it in a couple of centuries, rather than 50 million years. I see a problem with that.

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Re: Curiously absent global warming debate

Postby Fox » 21 Feb 2012, 20:41

That's interesting but the basic point remains the same.

From Wikipedia:
The Earth has been in an interglacial period known as the Holocene for more than 11,000 years. It was conventional wisdom that "the typical interglacial period lasts about 12,000 years," but this has been called into question recently. For example, an article in Nature[34] argues that the current interglacial might be most analogous to a previous interglacial that lasted 28,000 years. Predicted changes in orbital forcing suggest that the next glacial period would begin at least 50,000 years from now, even in absence of human-made global warming[35] (see Milankovitch cycles). Moreover, anthropogenic forcing from increased greenhouse gases might outweigh orbital forcing for as long as intensive use of fossil fuels continues.[36]


If we burn fossil fuels with gay abandon cooling will occur. Studies on a 12000 year cycle are based on ice cores. I know of the 12000 year cycle. It wouldn't surprise me if that was not right, but ice ages are cyclical governed by forces we know little about in reality. I think the anti-global warming camp can get a lot of positional mileage out of that sort of thing in terms of debate; however, that they see things in terms of positions in a political debate is what is most telling.This is science not positions. You cannot have a position on evolution or carbon 14 decay or relativity. That is simply absurd. They are absurdists..
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Re: Curiously absent global warming debate

Postby Dog's_Breakfast » 22 Feb 2012, 09:58

Fox wrote:If we burn fossil fuels with gay abandon cooling will occur.


Cooling? That's the part of your argument that I don't get. About 50 million years ago, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was eight times what it is now. The Earth was a hothouse at that time, with rain forests extending to the poles. The gradual drop in CO2 over the past 50 million years, caused by plate techtonics, is responsible for the climate we have now. If we pump the CO2 back into the atmosphere, we will rapidly undo all that effort by geology and bring us back to the climate we had 50 million years ago.

Fox wrote:I think the anti-global warming camp can get a lot of positional mileage out of that sort of thing in terms of debate; however, that they see things in terms of positions in a political debate is what is most telling.This is science not positions. You cannot have a position on evolution or carbon 14 decay or relativity. That is simply absurd. They are absurdists..


I couldn't agree with you more. The laws of physics couldn't give a hoot about politics.
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