David Jones asked:
I have watched a youtube video called The Great Global Warming Swindle, which puts forward convincing evidence that there is no correlation between CO2 levels and rising temperatures. Featured on the programme are Nigel Lawson, Nigel Calder (ex New Scientist Editor), Patrick Moore (founder of GreenPeace). They actually show graphs that say that over long periods of time, temperatures rise and THEN, 800 years later CO2 levels rise. They also show eveidence that states in the 1940s to 1970s when CO2 levels rose significantly, temps dropped. They also show a direct correlation between temperature rises and sun spot activity. How can climate change scientists refute these facts? Please explain. Thanks Hywel Jones
Dan Jones seperated fact from fiction...
Dan - Whenever I think about climate change I don’t usually start with the temperature trend, like you’re suggesting, I’d start with carbon dioxide. We know that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that was measured in the mid 1800s and any spectroscopy lab in the world can see the wavelength of radiation that carbon dioxide likes to absorb and emit. We know that it absorbs every from the earth’s surface and then emits energy back down to the earth’s surface.
Chris - By energy you mean heat? To make it simple. We’re talking about basically infrared energy aren’t we. Heat?
Dan - Yes, infrared, that’s fine.
Chris - So what you’re saying is the more CO2 that there is because it can absorb more of that energy, there’s more opportunity for that energy to be soaked up?
Dan - If you put more CO2 in the atmosphere you will get more energy down here at the surface, that’s really clear. We’ve been adding about 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year and that accumulates in the ocean, atmosphere, and land and that’s from fossil fuel burning. The short story is that that energy has to go somewhere. If you double carbon dioxide that’s energetically equivalent to putting a 4 watt light bulb on every square metre of the earth’s surface and letting it run 365 days a year, 24/7. 4 watts might not sound like a lot but the earth is gigantic, so if you put one of these light bulbs in every square metre, that ends up being energetically equivalent to about 40 nuclear explosions per second, which is…
Chris - Okay. So the physics argument is that because there’s more of something that can soak up the energy around there should, therefore, be more opportunity to interrupt that energy before it goes off into space and the earth’s system should become warmer, so that’s what the physics says. But what people are saying is when you look at graphs and things like that there appears to be some disparity between what the carbon dioxide’s doing, what the temperatures doing, what the current climate measurements and predictions are doing. How do climate scientists like you respond to those sorts of allegations?
Dan - Right. What the gentleman who asked the question was referring to was the surface temperature - just land surface temperature. Well not just land but the surface temperature and that quantity can be affected by how energy is exchanged between the atmosphere, and the ocean, and the cryosphere. So, if that’s the only number you're looking at you will see some wiggles, it will rise, it will fall and some of that is just due to exchanges of energy between the different parts of the climate system. An easier to read thermometer, I might suggest, would be something like ocean heat content. It takes more energy to raise the temperature of the ocean by 1 degree than it does the atmosphere because you can put a lot more heat into the ocean - it has a higher heat capacity. So, if you look at the ocean heat content for the past several decades, it has been increasing and it looks steadier than the surface temperature, which does have some of these increases and decreases.
Chris - So, is it fair to say that the general trend is an upward one for both the surface temperature and also the sea temperature? That there are fewer wiggles in the sea than there are at the surface, which you would expect because the ocean it takes a lot more energy in the ocean so it’s going to be a lot more stable over time? We would expect to see wiggles in the atmosphere because there are going to be changes and variations year on year anyway, but the general trend is an upward one?
Dan - That right, so I wouldn’t get too caught up in looking at one year or even a couple of years. I’d look at several decades, the past century or so.
Have you got the references / copies of the graphs to which you are referring? It would be helpful to see the material that was presented and attempt to establish whether the correct conclusions were being drawn.
The best historic data comes from the Vostok ice cores, which clearly show the 800-year lag (I estimated it at 500 years, but it's a lag, anyway) between the very sharp rises in T and the somewhat slower increases in CO2. The cooling lag is less spectacular but of similar magnitude.
You need to remove the underlying upward trend to see the seasonal cycle more clearly.
Here, on the other hand, is a recent finding that may explain a lot:
For a somewhat humorous take on the debate, listen to the Infinite Monkey Cage, with Brian Cox (30 minutes).
Usual response here:
Your response made me think of something I think has been overlooked. When we harvest things like wheat and corn, we don't eat the whole plant. We take the edible grain and throw away the rest. Same with crops like tomatoes or green beans, we pick the edible fruit, the rest of the plant withers and decays. It's not the grain and fruit that contains the most greenhouse gases, but rather the green parts of the plant, like the grass that cows eat. I'm not a farmer or agriculturist, but it seems like "crop waste" of this sort could contribute a fairly large amount of CO2. Craig W. Thomson, Sun, 6th Mar 2016
Analysis of past co² release following a global thaw most likely is a consequence of carbon fossils frozen, then decomposing after a severe freeze. Takes a while for carbon absorbing life forms to get a foot hold on carbon released from carbon trapped in long term permafrost.
Sorry, Craig, but not even the IPCC can repeal the laws of physics. Water is the only significant greenhouse gas in the gas phase (see puppypower's graph) as it has umpteen different IR absorption bands due to the bent shape of the molecule and its abilioty to form dimers, trimers and all sorts of short-range associations even in the gas phase. H2O gas can account for about 10% of the mass of air.
I wont attempt to engage in an argument that I really don't understand anything about, but from a sort of Bayesian standpoint, why do you guys disagree with the world wide consensus on climate change - what is it that most climate scientists have gotten wrong and why? Or am I wrong in thinking there is a consensus that human activity and emissions is affecting climate? cheryl j, Wed, 9th Mar 2016
Cheryl, I think it has to do with human nature. More specifically the addict's mentality. A lot of ppl get stuck in the state of denial. There's no reason to admit a problem, nor find a resolution if you don't have a problem.
Different problem. Toxic runoff consists of all sorts of stuff from artificial fertilisers to natural sewage and a bit of mining waste (in those countries where there is still a mining industry). Carbon dioxide is a gas, not a liquid, under ambient conditions.
Hydrogen bonding, within water, has both polar and covalent bonding characteristics. The polar aspect of hydrogen bonding is based on charge attraction, with this type of hydrogen bonding trying to get as close as possible to lower the charge potential. The covalent aspect of hydrogen bonding is different.
Nobody is denying the CO2 is going up. However, the expected temperature increase is being over estimated by all the computers models. There is something wrong with their assumptions since the actual temperature rise is 100-1200% lower than the models are predicting.
Correlation is not proof of causation.
There is no doubt that there are far too many people on the planet, and our descendants will drown in their own excrement if we don't stop reproducing. That is indeed the most important problem facing humanity, and the one which we can solve absolutely, for ever, at no cost, and with enormous benefit to ourselves, every succeeding generation, and every other species, by doing nothing.
Just to set the record straight, literally
One cannot argue, the history of real time climate change history is short.
Using the word "scaremongering" is spin, plain and simple. You're biased. You use science to support your arguments, too. You just cherry pick data that support your claims, that's all.
Had to break it into to post too many words for one: