One of the more recent popular misconceptions espoused by climate alarmists is the anthropogenic global warming scare. Only a scant four decades ago, us geezers can still recall that global cooling was the big scare. Since that was found to be bogus, the fear-mongers then switched to global warming. A lucrative industry then sprung up around this new bugaboo. The environmental hucksters would have us believe that global warming is due almost entirely to the industries of mankind. They claim that global warming is the result of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has indeed risen since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The global climate has also changed during that period. However, over the last fifteen or so years, there has been no significant warming of the overall climate. That fact has confounded the Global Warming alarmists.
Since both Global Cooling and Global Warming predictions have been found to be largely unpredictable and even incorrect in some instances, the new climatic bugaboo employed by the environmental crepe-hangers is climate change and extreme weather. One thing is certain. Climate change and extreme weather have always been with us, even before “mean-spirited Republicans” began the widespread use of fossil fuel and gas-guzzling SUV’s. Extreme weather has been documented throughout the history of mankind.
Prior to the advent of moveable type and the printing press, documentation of any event was limited. The very recent advent of electronic communication further made the general public aware of unusual weather events. The increased documentation and improved communication methods, along with 24 hour a day newscasts, have only made severe weather events seem more common in recent history. In the United States, the devaluation of the US Dollar has also made weather events seem more destructive since damage amounts from storms, stated in US dollars, are now much greater than in the past because each dollar buys less. The amount of damage has also been exacerbated by development. For example, damage from the severe New Madrid, Missouri earthquake in 1811 was negligible to humans. Even though it was felt as far away as Charleston, South Carolina, there was little to be damaged in the Midwest at that time. If the earthquake occurred today, damage would be catastrophic because of 200 more years of development. The same is true of severe weather events.
Unraveling the history of the earth is one of the main tasks faced by earth scientists. Earth history has been well-documented by scientists whose job it is to clarify such matters. They have discovered some remarkable facts that are not well-known. One of these that apply to climate change is the fact that, for about 80% of earth history, the planet was warmer than it is now and did not have any polar icecaps (see EARTH1 pdf below). For the Cletusville high school alma mater, that means that, presently, we are living in an unusually cold period of earth history, even if the polar icecaps are still actually receding.
Most of the evidence of earth history is complicated and circumstantial. There are no living witnesses to earth history. They have long ago turned to dust. In fact, a clever ambulance chaser could probably debunk much of known earth history in the eyes of those who lack a geological background. But the evidence of countless ancient events has been well-examined and thoroughly documented. That work has undergone the rigorous process of scientific methodology, and it has survived the scrutiny of the best and the brightest scientists. The evidence has been peer-reviewed by thousands of competent scientists and found to be absolutely credible. Peer-review is one of the cornerstones of scientific methodology. Although not completely infallible, peer-review provides a forum by which numerous competent scientists can review the independent research of one another. Through this process, humbug can be identified and discarded while honest mistakes can be addressed and rectified.
There is no doubt some global warming has occurred in recent geologic history. In fact, earth scientists have determined through the study of marine sediments that global climate change is a common event. From these studies, it has been determined that sea level has fluctuated by as much as 1000 feet throughout earth’s history. For example, the last time the world ocean had reached its present level was during the lower Triassic Period (about 230 million years ago). During the lower Cretaceous Period (about 130 million years ago), sea level was about 300 feet below what it is today. Since the middle Cretaceous Period (about 100 million years ago), sea level has gradually risen overall, with periodic sea level oscillations that lasted roughly 100,000 years. This periodicity may be due to astronomical events that are presently beyond our understanding.
During the last 11,000 or so years, sea level has risen about 500 feet, with virtually all of this change occurring before 4,000 B.C. That means sea level rose at an average rate of 90 feet per millennium from 9,000 B.C. to 4,000 B.C. Dr. W. Tad Pfeffer, a respected glaciologist from the University of Colorado at Boulder, has determined that sea level is presently rising at an average rate of three millimeters per year. This equals an average sea level rise of one foot per century, or 10 feet per millennium. So, given these facts, it becomes clear that the average rate of sea level increase is currently about one-tenth that of the average rate of the sea level increases from 9,000 B.C. to 4,000 B.C. The notion that humans have any significant influence in sea level change seems unlikely to those of us who have spent their lives studying the Earth. Sea level change has occurred countless times throughout Earth history prior to the arrival of Homo Sapiens.
There are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of factors involved in global climate change. It is perhaps impossibly complex, and accurate modeling or prediction of climate change is unlikely given our present understanding of the subject. Our local television meteorologist often fails to forecast the weather successfully a week ahead of time. It is certainly logical to believe that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has had some effect on global climate change, but the climate has been warming since the end of the last ice age. In fact, for 80% of earth history, the planet has been a warm, damp, greenhouse-like place to live. Polar ice caps are uncommon throughout earth history. Recently, an intellect from NASA has predicted that we are at a “tipping point”, and there is no turning back from global warming and dire consequences. A steady paycheck and snappy NASA business cards can do much to inflate one’s ego. Arrogance is not reserved only for celebrities and politicians. At the same time, another climate scientist tells us that melting glaciers may impede ocean currents, causing an ice age. What is one to believe, except that there is absolutely no consensus among climate scientists regarding global climate change.
It may well be that the Earth has some kind of climate-governing mechanism that keeps the Earth from getting too hot or too cold over time. That is certainly what the geologic record seems to indicate. The Earth has warmed and cooled hundreds of times throughout geologic history, life has adapted, and continues to thrive. Sea level has risen and fallen hundreds of time by as much as several hundred feet. No mean-spirited Republicans could have caused these events. As Elmer Fudd might say, "no wascally wepublicans were dwiving big cars or burning fossil fuels way back then, but climate change still took place."
Global climate change has been fairly regular, and perhaps even cyclical throughout much of earth’s history. There may be only several main factors that account for the cyclical nature of climate. Perhaps it is a simple process. Many possible scenarios can be envisioned. Perhaps as the climate warms, increasing both evaporation and precipitation, glaciers expand since the greatly increased precipitation at the head of the glacier overcomes the slightly increased rate of melting at the toe of the glacier. Increased glaciation then cools the climate temporarily. As the ocean level drops when water becomes locked into expanding mountain and continental ice sheets, more land is exposed, land that absorbs heat rather than the ocean water that reflects heat. Bodies of water have a much higher albedo (ability to reflect radiation) than do land surfaces. This also results in less water available for evaporation since the surface area of the ocean decreases significantly. This decreases precipitation and glaciers recede because precipitation is no longer adequate for glacial growth, and the climate warms again.
The preceding scenario would create a glacial cycle, perhaps one that is somehow also related to ocean currents, volcanoes, and astronomical events. This is just one of many possibilities, merely more guesswork. Any logical, proposed mechanism such as the preceding one should have at least as much credibility as the parroted presentation of some semi-literate actor seen on television in a cardboard suit who is trying to shake down airhead celebrities and trust-fund pantywaists. There are many theories based upon the results of computer modeling. But, accurate computer modeling requires the input of complete and accurate data. The lack of complete and accurate data is what commonly leads to the ambiguity in computer modeling of virtually anything. As far as global climate goes, complete and accurate data is not yet available to us due to the impossible number of factors that must be considered, many of which we may not yet even be vaguely aware of. One recent study was presented to the Canadian Senate in 2011 by Dr. Ian Clark, an Earth Science professor from the University of Ottawa. He showed the politicos that there was a very close historic correlation between solar energy output and global temperature. Who would have thought of that? Energy from the sun is not constant. He also showed graphically that global warming precedes a carbon dioxide increase by an average of about 800 years. His presentation can be seen at youtube.com/watch?v=hDKSkBrI-TM&t=457s or go to youtube.com and enter Ian Clark.
Once you watch that presentation, you will be well-informed, far ahead of the Cletusville high school alumni.
Even if we move into caves and quit driving cars and quit manufacturing doodads, it is unlikely that we can reverse global warming since it is part of a natural cycle. Some climate “experts” contend that global climate change would stop if we quit being consumers. But how do they really know? The experts who forecast the weather nightly on television have trouble predicting what climate will exist one week in the future. Some of those individuals who donate money to both the environmental outfits and the global-warming outfits might do it with little thought because it is trendy. They might not be adept at recognizing a conflict of interest. Many jobs are dependent upon those well-meaning donations from kind-hearted donors that want to save bugs and bunnies from evil capitalists.
And finally, those who may eventually benefit from the carbon credit business certainly don't want you to know that roughly 90% of the Greenhouse Effect results from water vapor in the atmosphere. For the graduates of Cletusville High School, that simply means that water vapor is responsible for almost all of the greenhouse effect. Thus, even if if carbon dioxide and methane were completely eliminated from the atmosphere, there would be little effect on global climate change. It seems almost unbelievable, but no focus group, study club, political action committee, blue-ribbon commission, workshop, task force, think tank, professional facilitator , or other scientifically illiterate entity will be able to reduce the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere by one iota.
What could have caused this gross misunderstanding regarding historic climate change that currently prevails? Why is there a pervasive hysteria about a natural event that has occurred continuously throughout earth history? Is it the widespread scientific illiteracy spawned by the failed public education system? Is it the idle worship and resultant preposterous scientific credibility granted to semi-literate Hollywood celebutards by pop culture? The cause of this misconception is hard to determine. Who will eventually be blamed for the higher cost of living resulting from "green" technologies that need government subsidies to survive? As usual, the taxpayer will be saddled with the cost of ignorance. Climate change is real. Anthropogenic climate change is simply a novice mistake. No shame in that!