1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby DanD » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:05 pm UTC

Flumble wrote:
Pyrite wrote:On a side note, did it really take us 500 years to go from working copper to working gold?

I mean, gold nuggets show up in riverbeds and you can melt the stuff in a campfire. What took them so long?

There are error bars of (at least) 1000 years on both according to wikipedia. It's plausible some tribes started smelting gold before copper, tin and lead.

Also both copper and gold have melting temperatures of 1000-1100°C, so don't you need a charcoal fire for either material to do metallurgy?


Both gold and copper can be found in a native state, and that's almost definitely what the first metal working was.

A wood fire can reach 1100C, mostly by producing charcoal internally, and then burning it. This can and does happen in camp fires occasionally. You can also get a natural blast furnace effect going on if the fire and wind cooperate (I actually managed to burn steel in a wood campfire. Once.) However, it is actually more likely that the first smelting was of lead. That temperature can be reached in a potters oven on occasion, so one built with galena containing stones might smelt accidentally.
Last edited by DanD on Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby chenille » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:06 pm UTC

cdfrick wrote:The eccentricity graph looks neat, but the peaks are offset from temperature spikes by several thousand years (for instance, the three most recent temperature peaks occurred at ~125 Kyr, 240 Kyr, and 325 Kyr before present, while the maximum eccentricity peaks occurred at ~110 Kyr [0.04 eccentricity], 210 Kyr [0.05], and 305 Kyr [0.04] before present).

Eccentricity is important but can't be considered on its own, because its effect depends on other parameters. For higher eccentricity there is a larger difference in sunlight between perihelion and aphelion. That means a larger difference between seasonal temperatures if aphelion takes place in the winter, but a smaller difference if it takes place in the summer, and that depends on precession.

My understanding is the Milankovich cycles actually do an excellent job explaining observed interglacials, but only once you've combined them, making the underlying periods tough to see.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:10 pm UTC

cdfrick wrote:Now that coal-powered energy plants and gas-powered vehicles are running cleaner, why is the problem getting worse?

The "pollution" you're talking about presumably doesn't include CO2. We've gotten a lot better at reducing most pollution, but CO2 pollution happens whenever you burn anything, no matter how clean that system is. The problem is getting worse because we're burning more stuff. Doesn't matter that we're burning it more cleanly, every day the demand for more burning just keeps rising, therefore more CO2 is being produced. That's that.

cdfrick wrote:And when the smoke finally cleared, the sun shone down on an altered landscape, not soft and green but hard and grey...and all the heat that wasn't being absorbed had to go somewhere else.

There is more concrete covering the world than ever before, but it's still a speck in the face of farmland and forests. Not much has changed on that front. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, however, that has been a huge change.


Tobias wrote:That's the part I don't get - the people who argue it's not human caused and so we should do... nothing!?

The thing I don't get about climate change deniers is the inconsistent application of trust. You can see the warming trend, you can see the increase in CO2 from 300 ppm to 400 ppm (or, if not that, you can see the acidification of the oceans), you can see the calculations for humanity's impact on that number (which lines up nicely with the measured levels in the atmosphere), you can see the science that shows CO2 to be a greenhouse gas, you can see the historical and prehistorical data suggesting that 1) CO2 is higher than it's ever been (unless you go WAY back) and 2) that the current warming is faster than it's ever been. Seems to me that most deniers believe most of these things, they trust the science, but then pick one and think there's a conspiracy to falsely report on that particular point of climate science. I don't get the inconsistency, especially when the point in contention seems to change from denier to denier. When you can make it 90% of the way there just by doing back-of-the-envelope calculations to verify what you're reading, I find it very hard to believe the 10% that I can't prove on my own would be fabricated.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:23 pm UTC

bob443@mahaska.org wrote:If you toss out the two El-Nino's, the graph goes flat in the year 2000 and remains so to this day
That's simply not true (as illustrated in thunk's post). If you eliminate 1998, you can no longer claim temperatures have been steady or declining since then.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:48 pm UTC

Now, obviously it is likely that there might be the occasional new person to the forums (we were all new once, and I still consider myself as such, despite extensive pre-registration lurking), but I hope all the commentators who have made one, two, maybe a handful of messages purely word-of-mouth (<= edit: stupid keyboard prediction inserted that phrase, without me noticing!) in this thread1 continue to be participants elsewhere. Plus those also caught up in the error but yet to leap back in again.


1 I must admit that I expected all such accounts to have joined within the last two days, and be biased against the message of the comic. It has actually been an even split (may still be biased, given where concensus lies) and a join date of 2013 but only two messages, so far, both of them here is... interesting. So my initial impression, for which I re-reviewed the thread, is proven largely wrong. Still, it'd be intetesting to see if a membership spike arose because of Elon Musk, et al, publicising this comic, leading a lucky few to discover (or rediscover?) the forum.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:58 pm UTC

I wonder how people even find this forum anymore since there's no link on the XKCD page. Google I guess.

On another note I like the new forum filter for S J W. Nice response to earlier posts in this thread.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby AaronD12 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:03 pm UTC

You might be right about n00bs visiting and posting... but other than a few posts, things have been in line with scientific consensus.

I look at it this way: If we "environmentalists/tree huggers" are right and we force companies and people to reduce emissions, we all win. If we are wrong, then we've cleaned up the Earth.

It's quite interesting to me the ultra-right leaning people (many times conservative Christians) are the most against fixing up the Earth. I've even (personally) heard people saying they want to use all the resources of the Earth to hasten the return of Jesus. :evil: (They ignore the words of the Bible saying that we are to be good stewards of the Earth.)

Shifting jobs from climate-destroying tasks (e.g., fracking, off-shore oil drilling, etc.) to renewable energy (e.g., windmills, solar, hydroelectric, fission, etc.) will actually increase jobs, not destroy them. Yes, it may take some government subsidies, but if you take away the government subsidies from the oil industry, it will be a wash or even a benefit to tax payers.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby cdfrick » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:12 pm UTC

SDK wrote:
cdfrick wrote:Now that coal-powered energy plants and gas-powered vehicles are running cleaner, why is the problem getting worse?

The "pollution" you're talking about presumably doesn't include CO2. We've gotten a lot better at reducing most pollution, but CO2 pollution happens whenever you burn anything, no matter how clean that system is. The problem is getting worse because we're burning more stuff. Doesn't matter that we're burning it more cleanly, every day the demand for more burning just keeps rising, therefore more CO2 is being produced. That's that.

cdfrick wrote:And when the smoke finally cleared, the sun shone down on an altered landscape, not soft and green but hard and grey...and all the heat that wasn't being absorbed had to go somewhere else.

There is more concrete covering the world than ever before, but it's still a speck in the face of farmland and forests. Not much has changed on that front. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, however, that has been a huge change.


Co-occurrence does not prove causality. Even if those facts are plainly admitted, it requires that one believe CO2 increases cause temperature increases, which is a subject of some debate. There is some historical evidence that the causal link, if one exists, is the opposite - that temperature increases cause atmospheric CO2 levels to rise as a delayed reaction. Therefore, if the "man-made global warming is happening" argument hinges solely or largely on CO2 stats, there's room for someone to admit to the stated facts but disagree with the conclusion.

On the subject of concrete/pavement, a ballpark Google estimate is a total coverage of 0.15% to 0.2% of Earth's surface, all presumably constructed in the past ~100 years (post-automobile), while the global increase in CO2 is a net 0.01% atmospheric concentration (or 0.04% total concentration). Since roughly 75% of the concrete/pavement is roadways, that leaves 25% for urban areas, or 0.0375% of Earth's surface (at a minimum). I would argue the level of change in those two areas is comparable, and "a speck" vs. "a huge change" is somewhat overstating the case.

I don't have a dog in this fight, I just think CO2 gets too much time in the spotlight and it's a weak argument, at best one part of a much larger picture. If someone put a posterboard over the Mona Lisa, cut out a postage-stamp-sized hole over one eye, put it on display, and dramatically announced "This is the great Mona Lisa!" I can see how some people would be unimpressed. And sure, let's call the urban heat island effect (and it's affect on ocean temperatures) the other eye - still a small part of the picture, but one worth noting.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Sableagle » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:16 pm UTC

Oh, wow. That one again. I've been reading the same arguments and seeing them refuted the same ways again and again since the days when "there's been cooling over the last 18 years" was still just "there's been no warming over the last ten years."

*checks bank balance*
*pays monthly credit card bill*
Ohhh mah Gaaawwwd, ah'm gonna be broke bah Christmas!
*gets paid weekly, four times*
*checks bank balance*
Oh WOW. I'll be able to retire in a few years' time.
*pays monthly credit card bill*
*checks bank balance*
Ohhh mah Gaaawwwd, ah'm gonna be broke bah Christmas!
*gets paid weekly, four times*
*checks bank balance*
Oh WOW. I'll be able to retire in a few years' time.
*pays monthly credit card bill*
*checks bank balance*
Ohhh mah Gaaawwwd, ah'm gonna be broke bah Christmas!
*gets paid weekly, four times*
*checks bank balance*
Oh WOW. I'll be able to retire in a few years' time.

I note a lot of people are still finding the "global annual average" concept as hard to grasp as the difference between "upward trend" and "consistent year-on-year increases."

Alaska has more than 4 times the land surface area of Britain. If Alaska gets 1C warmer and Britain gets 4C colder, that's warming. If November and February are 1C colder, December and January are 2C colder, May and September are 1C warmer and June, July and August are 2C warmer, that's warming. If Alaska gets 1C warmer through June and July (and melts people's foundations) and Britain gets 8 degrees colder in January (and freezes pensioners to death), that's warming.
There's also the matter of extreme weather events. Lots of people say "Hey, I like it warm," or "I'd rather live in a tropical paradise than an ice age." Yeah, well, guys, "warm" is the time of year you get hurricanes, remember? The higher you turn the heat, the more the pan goes "bleup" and the wetter the splashback gets. Also, if rain falls on the side of the mountains where you don't have dams it doesn't refill your reservoirs and does wash away your villages, and if your reservoirs can hold 5 weeks' water and you get 2 weeks' water every 10 days or 3 weeks' water every 17 days or 4 weeks' water ever 23 days or 6 weeks' water every 32 days, that's fine, but 10 weeks with no rain will empty your reservoirs and 11 weeks' rain in two days will devastate your cities (they're almost all on rivers, aren't they?) then another 10 weeks with no rain will empty your reservoirs again.
A long time ago, I saw predictions that we'd stop fighting over oil and start fighting over water. By then, we'd already started. What do you think's so great about the Golan Heights, after all? The gradient slows Syrian spearmen and gives Israeli archers time for more volleys? What's so significant about the Litani catchment area? Katyusha range radius of a particular chicken farm ... or one of the few river systems in the area with a freshwater excess? Syria redeployed their air force north to threaten a Turkish dam on the Euphrates about 20 years ago. This year? This year we seem to have a low-level civil war developing in India:

Why two Indian states have started rioting over water

At least one person has died and another has been wounded in riots over water in India.

Protesters set fire to cars and buses and pelted people with stones in the Indian city of Bangalore in Karnataka state, senior police officer L. Chandrashekar said.

The unrest was over an Indian Supreme Court decision to force the state to release 12,000 cubic feet of water per second per day from its dams on the Cauvery river to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu until 20 September.

The decision has led to outrage among people in the technology hub - dubbed the country's answer to Silicon Valley - as the state said it does not have enough water for farmers to irrigate their land as it is.

In one incident in the Banashankari area of southern Bangalore, three reportedly drunken men climbed onto a school bus and demanded to know which state the 15 children onboard belonged to.
That last line. Oh, shit. Shit, shit, shit ...

The bus driver was able to diffuse the tension by saying they all supported Karnataka in the water dispute, the BBC reported.
I want to send the driver flowers or chocolates or something. I really do.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby paha arkkitehti » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:35 pm UTC

cdfrick wrote:On the subject of concrete/pavement, a ballpark Google estimate is a total coverage of 0.15% to 0.2% of Earth's surface, all presumably constructed in the past ~100 years (post-automobile), while the global increase in CO2 is a net 0.01% atmospheric concentration (or 0.04% total concentration). Since roughly 75% of the concrete/pavement is roadways, that leaves 25% for urban areas, or 0.0375% of Earth's surface (at a minimum). I would argue the level of change in those two areas is comparable, and "a speck" vs. "a huge change" is somewhat overstating the case.

I don't have a dog in this fight, I just think CO2 gets too much time in the spotlight and it's a weak argument, at best one part of a much larger picture. If someone put a posterboard over the Mona Lisa, cut out a postage-stamp-sized hole over one eye, put it on display, and dramatically announced "This is the great Mona Lisa!" I can see how some people would be unimpressed. And sure, let's call the urban heat island effect (and it's affect on ocean temperatures) the other eye - still a small part of the picture, but one worth noting.


Well, going from 0.03% to 0.04 % blood alcohol content while driving will get you pretty stiff fines in some parts of the world.

How bad a small change can be depends heavily on the circumstances. CO2 is bad, while concrete isn't all that different from natural land in the grand scheme of things. Cutting down huge amounts of rainforest for pasture ground, now that might have a noticeable effect on the climate.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Shadowman615 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

canonical.chris wrote:
jozwa wrote:History is so cool. No pun intended.

Also, is "Atilla" a typo or an alternative spelling?


Wikipedia thinks it is the main spelling: *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attila


The actual text of the URL you posted says otherwise!

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby somitomi » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:09 pm UTC

cdfrick wrote: The effect of replacing an enormous amount of light- and heat-absorbing grass and earth with an equally enormous amount of light- and heat-reflecting asphalt and concrete adjacent to a large, sensitive body of water is something that deserves a bit more discussion in the whole "humans are destroying the environment" debate.

In my experience, asphalt is excellent at absorbing light and heat on account of it being black. While it does become lighter in colour over time, I think foliage still reflects more light.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:11 pm UTC

Wouldn't reflecting light cool the planet down? When the planet was largely covered in snow, the increased reflection of the snow helped keep the planet cold.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby eran_rathan » Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:44 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Wouldn't reflecting light cool the planet down? When the planet was largely covered in snow, the increased reflection of the snow helped keep the planet cold.


Yes, the relevant term is called the "ice-albedo feedback loop", specifically in regard to Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets.

basically, as temperature increases, there is less ice (which has a much higher albedo), which makes less energy reflected and more absorbed, increasing temperatures, which results in less ice, etc.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:04 pm UTC

mschmidt62 wrote:
No. What is great about this "comic" (graphic, illustration, whatever) is that it illustrates how gradual previous changes have been compared to what we've seen in the last century. Actively scroll through it and it becomes a dynamic indicator of temperature through time. If you changed the time scale towards the end, you would be doing exactly what we humans have generally, throughout history, tended to do naturally--think of the past as being a lot shorter than it really is.


This is exactly what's wrong with this comic. The gradual nature of the previous changes in the chart is an artifact of the data sources. The actual global temperature wasn't that steady. This comic is a flat out misrepresentation and the type of pseudoscience Randall normally pokes fun at. I guess we all have our blind spots.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:13 pm UTC

AaronD12 wrote:I look at it this way: If we "environmentalists/tree huggers" are right and we force companies and people to reduce emissions, we all win. If we are wrong, then we've cleaned up the Earth.

...

Shifting jobs from climate-destroying tasks (e.g., fracking, off-shore oil drilling, etc.) to renewable energy (e.g., windmills, solar, hydroelectric, fission, etc.) will actually increase jobs, not destroy them. Yes, it may take some government subsidies, but if you take away the government subsidies from the oil industry, it will be a wash or even a benefit to tax payers.


This is astoundingly ignorant. The emissions targeted by global warming policies (CO2 and other greenhouse gases) are not pollutants. Decreasing these gases usually involves increasing actual pollutants, e.g. Volkswagen (NO) and ethanol (phosphates, pesticides).

I'd love to live in your world, where jobs are created by government instead of by the value they add to the supply chain. While you are at it, you should replace all the diggers that have big buckets with teaspoons. Think of the increase in jobs in road construction alone!

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:18 pm UTC

yoyomon wrote:
mschmidt62 wrote:
No. What is great about this "comic" (graphic, illustration, whatever) is that it illustrates how gradual previous changes have been compared to what we've seen in the last century. Actively scroll through it and it becomes a dynamic indicator of temperature through time. If you changed the time scale towards the end, you would be doing exactly what we humans have generally, throughout history, tended to do naturally--think of the past as being a lot shorter than it really is.


This is exactly what's wrong with this comic. The gradual nature of the previous changes in the chart is an artifact of the data sources. The actual global temperature wasn't that steady. This comic is a flat out misrepresentation and the type of pseudoscience Randall normally pokes fun at. I guess we all have our blind spots.


This has been covered, read the thread (or, indeed, the comic).

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:You misunderstood the point of the graph. The point isn't about whether or not the climate was ever hotter in the past. The point is that temperature changes in the past took place over thousands of years, not decades. Randell could have started the graph at a time when the climate was hotter than now, it wouldn't have invalidated his point, it would just make the graph bigger.


If this is the point of the graph, then the point is untrue. Taking data smoothed by its method of collection then contrasting it with data collected on a finer timescale to try to show that the present contains more anomalies than the past isn't just pseudoscience, it isn't very convincing pseudoscience.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:31 pm UTC

Again, the comic explained exactly how much the data is smoothed out. It's not enough to mask a "spike" like the one we're experiencing (or would be if this was a spike).

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:35 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:This has been covered, read the thread (or, indeed, the comic).


I read the thread and the comic, plus several of the sources. The sources do not claim that anomalies on the 100 year timescale would be captured. The thread argues about whether Randall did an adequate job caveating this. It is clear he didn't, however, since the majority of posters seem to have taken the recent temperature anomaly as relevant when compared to the "gradual" changes of the past. Given the way temperatures fluctuated before CO2 production but after direct measurement, it would actually be much more surprising for there to be no anomalies missed by the past data than that there are many.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:37 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Again, the comic explained exactly how much the data is smoothed out. It's not enough to mask a "spike" like the one we're experiencing (or would be if this was a spike).


Huh, I must have missed where the comic explained "exactly how much the data is smoothed out". Not only does it not do that (a scaleless, unitless inset aside), but the sources make it abundantly clear that measurements are on scales much longer than the current anomaly and that they are further extrapolated from very local sources.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:42 pm UTC

The inset is clearly in the same scale and units as the rest of the graph.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Keyman » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:43 pm UTC

HURRY UP!!

I made a small bet with myself when I saw the comic yesterday, that the tread would get to at least page 6 before the next comic was up. We can do it! :mrgreen:
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:58 pm UTC

yoyomon wrote:
Mutex wrote:Again, the comic explained exactly how much the data is smoothed out. It's not enough to mask a "spike" like the one we're experiencing (or would be if this was a spike).


Huh, I must have missed where the comic explained "exactly how much the data is smoothed out". Not only does it not do that (a scaleless, unitless inset aside), but the sources make it abundantly clear that measurements are on scales much longer than the current anomaly and that they are further extrapolated from very local sources.

Are you people seeing a different comic than the rest of us, or are you just that willfully obtuse?

Why are you so averse to supposing that the inset graph has the same scale (and thus units) as the rest of the comic?
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Katie.P » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:06 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:Again, the comic explained exactly how much the data is smoothed out. It's not enough to mask a "spike" like the one we're experiencing (or would be if this was a spike).


To that point: if in another 10,000 to 20,000 years, our distant descendants reconstructed their previous 40,000-year climate history, with the same limitations on data-gathering as the current study (~150 years of granular data & proxy data for the rest) how large of a short-term variation would our current temperatures have to reach and over what timeframe would it need to occur for it to show up in the proxy record?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:24 pm UTC

cdfrick wrote:Co-occurrence does not prove causality. Even if those facts are plainly admitted, it requires that one believe CO2 increases cause temperature increases, which is a subject of some debate.

Co-occurrence does not prove causality, that's true, but I don't think there's as much room to debate this as you think there is. CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) is known to cause warming. I think you'd agree with that, but your contention is how much CO2 is required to cause warming, right? While I don't have an exact number, I can show you this.

Image

The dotted line at zero is the infrared radiation leaving Earth as measured by satellite in 1970. The solid line is as measured in 1996. The difference lines up well with the absorption spectra of CO2 and methane, the primary two GHG's we've been putting up there. Similar comparisons have been done on Earth looking at what gets reflected back at us from the atmosphere, with similar results (though with different amplitudes for the respective compounds).

The point is, if you're waiting for a perfect answer and a perfect climate theory, you're going to be disappointed. But the evidence is there for CO2. Many, many other theories have been scientifically vetted. All of them have been disproven other than the effect of CO2 on global temperature. That's how science works.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby thunk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:30 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
bob443@mahaska.org wrote:If you toss out the two El-Nino's, the graph goes flat in the year 2000 and remains so to this day
That's simply not true (as illustrated in thunk's post). If you eliminate 1998, you can no longer claim temperatures have been steady or declining since then.


The true answer is slightly more complicated. First, let's do what bob says and compare temperature datasets from 1999 to 2015 (on either side of the two big El Nino years). I replaced the BEST data with Hadcrut4 because the former was land-only and an apples-to-oranges comparison here.

Image

You will note that while the upper two lines show a clear positive trend on the order of 0.01 K/yr, the lower two lines show much less (or even no) warming over that time period. That's where deniers stop and crow "See! The Pause persists!", claiming that the RSS and UAH6.0 datasets are manna from heaven while NASA and the CRU faked the other two.

Except...temperature measurements are Complicated, and that's why I'm taking a whole course on the topic of measurement. When it comes to the global temperature record, there are four main ways of looking at it-- 1) from surface stations on land, with adjustments for the paucity of data over the oceans, 2) from microwave radiometers on satellites, 3) from radiosonde data, adjusted as in 1, and 4) at oceanic heat content in general.

Each technique will produce somewhat different results, and while GISTEMP and HADCRUT use method 1, UAH and RSS use method 2. So we can look at the record from method 3, which has diverged somewhat from 2 recently:
Image

or from 4:
Image

As you can see, three of the four techniques clearly indicate continued warming over 1999-2015, while method 2 may not. This sort of variance can be expected when you're sampling a complicated system such as the atmosphere. Cherry-picking data in support of one's claim, as Bob does, is not a repudiation of the fact that the atmosphere is still warming.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:31 pm UTC

Katie.P wrote:To that point: if in another 10,000 to 20,000 years, our distant descendants reconstructed their previous 40,000-year climate history, with the same limitations on data-gathering as the current study (~150 years of granular data & proxy data for the rest) how large of a short-term variation would our current temperatures have to reach and over what timeframe would it need to occur for it to show up in the proxy record?

It should show up now.

If you look at the "unlikely" example in the comic, the rise and fall span over about 100 years. Our temperature has warmed a similar amount to the "unlikely" case (almost 1 degree C) over 50 years, so we're basically sitting on the peak of that same spike right now. If we come down now just as rapidly as we went up, we would show up in the record.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby SDK » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:31 pm UTC

Keyman wrote:HURRY UP!!

I made a small bet with myself when I saw the comic yesterday, that the tread would get to at least page 6 before the next comic was up. We can do it! :mrgreen:

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Benefuchs » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:34 pm UTC

I'm missing the theory of prehistoric global warming caused by rice farming, see https://www.theguardian.com/science/200 ... heobserver . (original source: Ruddiman, W.F. Climatic Change (2003) 61: 261. doi:10.1023/B:CLIM.0000004577.17928.fa )
Maybe it was more prevented cooling than actual warming anyway...

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:33 pm UTC

paha arkkitehti wrote:
Mikeski wrote:Then we seem to be boned either way, as I'm not sure how you feed 7 billion of us on a zero-fossil-fuels economy. Or keep the ones who don't live in the tropics warm in the wintertime. (Or, generously, to do those things with an early-1800s-level-of-emissions-with-today's-tech, fossil-fuels-economy.)


Those are easy. Feeding us all simply means changing to a more vegetarian diet (see: http://xkcd.com/1338/) and change the agricultural policy so that we would farm our stuff where the climate is good (like Africa) instead of using massive amounts of money and energy to cultivate things in near arctic environment (say, Northern Europe).

And you can get more than enough warmth from sun and geothermal sources to keep us all nice and warm. Drill a hole couple of kilometeres down, and there's more than enough warmth to heat a well insulated town forever.


The person I was replying to said he was trying to avoid the massive upheavals caused by re-jiggering worldwide civilizations due to climate change. Stating that we can avoid that by causing massive upheavals and re-jiggering worldwide civilization right now seems to miss the point... :mrgreen:

And "farming where the weather is good" (but the politics is awful-to-nonexistent) doesn't make your tractors run on something other than diesel. Nor the mining equipment to make and maintain all those giant geothermal devices.

Here's the problem we're trying to solve (taken from xkcd, obviously):
Image

Here's what we think is causing it (taken from "The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center", part of the US Dept of Energy):
Image

Now, pick the point where you think "the problem" starts, and assume we need to get the emissions at or below that level. Here's a crappy overlay to help visualize the problem you're causing when you fix the problem in the first picture by "immediately cutting emissions":
Image

Are you going to cut emissions to, say, 1890 levels (a 95% reduction) to fix this? That gets to a level below where the warming seems to be happening.

Getting back to when I was born--around the "+0 degrees" line--cutting them to ~1974 levels would be a 50% reduction w.r.t. 2010.

The Kyoto Protocol, which most nations failed to meet (the USA hit it, though they hadn't signed on to the treaty), only asked for a 5.2% reduction from 1997 to 2012. It's pretty clear that asking for CO2 reductions can't fix the problem. We tried it; it didn't work. And we only asked for the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

More politics and yelling is unlikely to get the whole world to agree to a 50-95% reduction in CO2, when the developed world couldn't hack 5%.

We need something much smarter.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:51 pm UTC

That actually raises a pretty good point. Ability of the patient to comply is an important factor of any medical treatment. Telling people to eat better and exercise more really isn't enough to stop the obesity epidemic. That's not to say that people shouldn't eat better and exercise more, just that, as a practical matter, that's probably not actually going to get a lot of people much healthier; just telling them that, I mean, because there are much stronger factors compelling them not to comply with that advice. Telling people to reduce CO2 emissions seems comparable; it's not that we shouldn't do that, per se, it's that telling people we should is really probably not going to get a response that will actually fix the problem, because there are much stronger factors compelling people not to comply with that advice.

And to complete the analogy, in both cases a better solution eludes us at present.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Soteria » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:02 am UTC

Tobias wrote:Is the warming human caused? It doesn't matter. (It is, but it doesn't matter) We need to do what we can to stop it, because regardless of the cause it is bad for us, and even if we weren't responsible (which we are), it would be absolutely vital that we develop a way to stop it (and we should be glad we are responsible, since it makes the way to stop it a lot easier than it otherwise would be).

That's the part I don't get - the people who argue it's not human caused and so we should do... nothing!? That just makes the problem harder! If you want a minimal amount of government interference and spending and social upheaval and business disruption or what-the-fuck-ever, human-caused climate change is exactly what you should be praying for, because the alternative where we are going to have to fight global forces that are 100% out of our control is not going to be an easier problem to tackle! And if your argument is that we shouldn't try and should just give up, why don't you do the same right now and get out of our way.


Allow me to explain. Many of us do not think climate change is a myth, but we disagree with the conclusions that it can be prevented and that it will be an apocalypse. So when you propose spending trillions of tax-payer dollars and ask us to make significant changes to our lifestyles for what we see as dubious gain, we have something to say about that.

If we imposed every regulation you want on the US and Europe to reduce emissions, I am skeptical that it would prevent global warming. I'm sure it would be extremely painful to a lot of people. Africa and Asia seem unlikely, based on past history, to impose the harsh regulations that are apparently required to stop global warming. So why should we spend loads of money if we can't stop it? If you are so certain that global warming is coming and will be an apocalypse, maybe you should be proposing we invest that money in mitigating the imminent disaster instead of preventing what probably can't be prevented.

AaronD12 wrote:Shifting jobs from climate-destroying tasks (e.g., fracking, off-shore oil drilling, etc.) to renewable energy (e.g., windmills, solar, hydroelectric, fission, etc.) will actually increase jobs, not destroy them. Yes, it may take some government subsidies, but if you take away the government subsidies from the oil industry, it will be a wash or even a benefit to tax payers.


Do you know, I read an article recently praising California's green-energy initiative. They said solar employs as many workers as every other source of energy in Cali combined (40k or something). They failed to mention that solar only produces 5% of the electricity. Seems like an inefficient investment in tax-payer money and manpower to me. (It's gone up slightly since I read this article). So I guess, yeah, that will create jobs. But is that really the only goal? I mean, we could pay people to destroy our infrastructure and then pay other people to repair it. That would create a LOT of jobs.

Also, which oil subsidies exactly are you wanting to get rid of, and how much money will you save? Which programs, I mean.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby teelo » Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:02 am UTC

Was expecting to see King Henry VIII plotted on that graph :(

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby niauropsaka » Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:59 am UTC

thoughtdreams wrote:oh well, all good things come to an end. sad but forseeable for a while now.

too bad xkcd isnt printed on old-timey newsprint for easier burning during the coming ice age (sure, it could be printed out on printer paper but that seems an unneccessary step)

if history teaches us one thing, it is that when the 'ptb' reach a consensus, it is always, always, always 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

another way of saying it: if you get your science knowledge from politicians, bureaucrats, and their media, you will be forever misguided (but still useful to the ptb).

cruder version: if you think politicans know more about math and science than you do, you might be right!

so, in addition to all the actual science debunking the AGW hoax, we have an unofficial but highly accurate contrarian indicator. act accordingly!

:roll:

Everything about this post is wrong, which is impressive. Even the ice age prediction. Yes, the Earth will probably have an ice age at some point, and relatively "soon" in geological terms. But your implication that it's imminent and more likely (over the next 50 years) than a runaway greenhouse effect--that is still wrong.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby niauropsaka » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:13 am UTC

bob443@mahaska.org wrote:1998 was an anomalous El-Nino period, followed by about 18 years of gradually declining temps, followed by 2016, another strong El-Nino event. If you toss out the two El-Nino's, the graph goes flat in the year 2000 and remains so to this day, when considering that the global temp has declined suddenly in the last 4 months following the end of the 2016 El-Nino and is somewhere around the average for the last decade, at this time.

How are "anomalous El-Niño events" not part of climate? :?:

Is this just a detailed way of saying that you think the present warming is a statistical fluke, or do you think that El Niño is something other than a natural weather pattern?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby niauropsaka » Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:28 am UTC

I don't remember hearing about "anthropogenic climate forcing" in the early '00's. I remember hearing about Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW for short. And as far back as the 1980's, "the greenhouse effect."

Yes, I am that old.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:03 am UTC

I half remember residual (non-crackpot but also, by that time, non-scientist too) fears of Global Cooling, before that.

And then my childhood memories of winter snowfalls good enough to sledge in progress into winters with hardly enoughnto be worth getting the fancy new sledge with steering handles out of the loft. Although that's reversed again in (some of) the last few years or so. At the risk of having a selective memory, there's definitely Global Weirding goin on. Or cycles longer than 11 years.

In the absence of better personal records (my Cub Scout weather station only lasted as long as it needed to get my Science Badge, I'm certain) , I'm gonna trusted-list the scientists on the specific trends...

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby paha arkkitehti » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:50 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:The person I was replying to said he was trying to avoid the massive upheavals caused by re-jiggering worldwide civilizations due to climate change. Stating that we can avoid that by causing massive upheavals and re-jiggering worldwide civilization right now seems to miss the point... :mrgreen:


Of course we need to make radical changes, but you don't seem to grasp the scale of potential disaster if we don't do anything.

Changing our eating habits and eating less massively excessively meat is less of an upheaval than dealing with a couple of billion starving and thirsty refugees. Drilling a few hundred thousand holes to get clean heat is less of an operation than relocating all our most important cities inland because of rising seal levels.

The problem doesn't go away by doing nothing, but what we can do is easy enough that it would be stupid to rise your hands up and call it impossible. The question is mostly "is it economically viable?" and that's where politics come to play.

Really it's all politics. That's the only way to do this. Even if you are a quitter and don't want to do anything, at least don't try to stop those more interested to try.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Old Bruce » Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:56 am UTC

niauropsaka wrote:I don't remember hearing about "anthropogenic climate forcing" in the early '00's. I remember hearing about Anthropogenic Global Warming, or AGW for short. And as far back as the 1980's, "the greenhouse effect."

Yes, I am that old.


I recall hearing about the "Greenhouse effect" from a teacher back in my youth, CO2 being produced by the industrial revolution and modern (then) power plants. Made sense to me, all that coal being dug up and burned showed up as an increasing amount of CO2 in Hawaii's atmosphere. This was in the late sixties.

Yes, I am that old.


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