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Fraser
2007-Jul-11, 07:26 PM
I recently wrote an article for Wired Science about how there doesn't appear to be a link between cosmic rays and global warming. Now another argument against human-created global warming has fallen to the wayside: ...

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2007/07/11/the-sun-isnt-responsible-for-climate-change/)

mattdck
2007-Jul-11, 10:16 PM
Fraser,

Climate change is really complicated. You have just said, "If not the sun's energy output, then humans."

I'm not arguing that humans aren't responsible for global warming, just arguing that no one helps the conversation by drawing one-to-one comparisons. I can think of plausible stories for why an energy loss from the sun could cause global warming. They may not turn out to be true or valid, but simple, two-variable equations are just hurting the debate, in my mind.

Love the forum, website and podcast.

Matt

Fraser
2007-Jul-11, 11:24 PM
Sure, but the evidence that the Sun was increasing its energy output was evidence against human-caused global warming. It turns out the Sun's output is decreasing. So which is it? Does an increase in solar energy cause heating or doesn't it?

Lurker
2007-Jul-11, 11:59 PM
It does not surprise me that the sun's output is not responsible. the current temperatures are only now returning to what they were during the Medieval warm period and may not yet have reached the levels during the warm period at the dawn of civilization. The possibility exists that complex, interconnected feedback loops are involved and that these same feedback loops may limit the amount of warming we experience.

It appears that the previous warming periods I meantion were reversed as the melt-water from the arctic ice sheets added significant amounts of fresh water to the oceans in the northern latttudes. It appears that this influx of cold fresh water disrupted ocean currents and resulted in cooling temperatures and glacial expansion.

mattdck
2007-Jul-12, 12:18 AM
Fraser,

Does an increase in solar energy cause heating or doesn't it?

Implying that it's one (the sun) or the other (humans) is a false dichotomy. Just because you're debating people who engage in such things doesn't mean you have to. The truth is that no matter what the cause, it is surpassingly likely that it's a combination of 100s or 1000s of factors at work together. These straw men said, "The sun's energy increase caused global warming." You don't have to say, "No it didn't, so humans did." You could say the more subtle and informative, "Current evidence suggest those two variables are independent, adding weight to the hypothesis that humans are at least partially responsible for global warming."

And that's not leaving them much room other than to dispute the actual evidence.

Regards,
Matt

cbacba
2007-Jul-12, 02:34 AM
Fraser,

Does an increase in solar energy cause heating or doesn't it?

Implying that it's one (the sun) or the other (humans) is a false dichotomy. Just because you're debating people who engage in such things doesn't mean you have to. The truth is that no matter what the cause, it is surpassingly likely that it's a combination of 100s or 1000s of factors at work together. These straw men said, "The sun's energy increase caused global warming." You don't have to say, "No it didn't, so humans did." You could say the more subtle and informative, "Current evidence suggest those two variables are independent, adding weight to the hypothesis that humans are at least partially responsible for global warming."

And that's not leaving them much room other than to dispute the actual evidence.

Regards,
Matt

That's true, there appear now to be three potential mechanisms of solar variability that might be involved in solar forcing and two may be contradictory in that one increases while the other decreases without necessarily cancelling each other out. It's possible there might even be more. Just the factors considered in climatology are rather complex. It is likely there are a number that have yet to be even identified.

When one sees terms like 'facts' and 'disproves' thrown around freely, there's usually a nonscientific agenda in play. Normally, theories aren't disproved, they merely get replaced as mainstream by something that appears to work better, until/unless some new variation gets concocted that pushes it back into the mainstream again.

iantresman
2007-Jul-12, 12:05 PM
Sure, but the evidence that the Sun was increasing its energy output was evidence against human-caused global warming. It turns out the Sun's output is decreasing. So which is it? Does an increase in solar energy cause heating or doesn't it?

If the Sun's energy output is decreasing, then the effect of other factors is more apparent. But it doesn't tell whether the Sun, or the other factors, plays the dominant role.

I believe that the Earth has gone through pre-industrial periods of warming and cooling. If CO2 had an effect, what caused its concentration to change?

caridgway
2007-Jul-12, 07:25 PM
First let me say that I I am not advocating doing things that will increase global warming. But the Earth has constantly been evolving. We seem to want to live in a steady state where no species will ever go extinct and man will exist forever. Something got out of the way for us and maybe it is getting to be time for us to get out of the way for the next thing.

antoniseb
2007-Jul-12, 08:00 PM
Something got out of the way for us and maybe it is getting to be time for us to get out of the way for the next thing.
Now there's a powerful argument to ignore global warming... maybe it is our time to be extinct!

BTW, I think it is misleading to say "The Earth has constantly been evolving". The Earth's eco-system has been changing and adapting.

Swift
2007-Jul-12, 08:15 PM
Fraser,

Climate change is really complicated. You have just said, "If not the sun's energy output, then humans."

I'm not arguing that humans aren't responsible for global warming, just arguing that no one helps the conversation by drawing one-to-one comparisons. I can think of plausible stories for why an energy loss from the sun could cause global warming. They may not turn out to be true or valid, but simple, two-variable equations are just hurting the debate, in my mind.

Love the forum, website and podcast.

Matt
my bold
Could you name one or two?

Swift
2007-Jul-12, 08:21 PM
First let me say that I I am not advocating doing things that will increase global warming. But the Earth has constantly been evolving. We seem to want to live in a steady state where no species will ever go extinct and man will exist forever. Something got out of the way for us and maybe it is getting to be time for us to get out of the way for the next thing.
But to me, that is a false argument too. To me, the available data supports that global warming is going on and that humans are the primary cause. I support measures to limit this (I think it no longer can be stopped or prevented).

Yes, climate changes and extinction events have happened before. But, with the exception of impact events, this one is happening much faster. So the die off of species and the impact on eco-systems will be much greater; we are changing things faster than nature can adapt to them. No one responsible is saying human will last forever or that things never change. But this one is different.

On the flip side, I don't advocate the mass suicide of the human race either.

Second point, is a moral question. We are responsible for this event. I can dismiss a comet or a volcano as an act of god or part of nature, but I have a moral problem dismissing it in this case.

nauthiz
2007-Jul-12, 08:22 PM
If CO2 had an effect, what caused its concentration to change?

Ecosystem changes and volcanic activity are likely candidates, and there are other things that could do it. In general, the atmospheric CO2 concentration is governed by a lot of factors, so it could be many things at once. Is there a particular event you were thinking of?

HIZZONERDAMARE
2007-Jul-12, 08:47 PM
The pdf of the Royal Sociey's paper contains an escape clause that we should be aware of. On the bottom of page 9 continuing to the top of page 10:

"For the cosmic ray mechanism, it has been proposed that the long-term decline in cosmic rays over much of the twentieth century (seen in figure 4d and caused by the rise in open solar flux seen in figure 4c) would cause a decline in global cover of low-altitude clouds, for which the radiative forcing caused by the albedo decrease outweighs that of the trapping effect on the outgoing thermal long-wave radiation. We here do not discuss these mechanisms in any detail. Rather, we look at the solar changes over the last three decades, in the context of the changes that took place over the most of the twentieth century."

I am not a scientist, but a layman. However, the characterization by Frazer that if it's not the Sun, cosmic rays, etc. it has to be human is the kind of flippant response that perpetuates emotion, not rational thought.

Vince_Noir
2007-Jul-12, 09:59 PM
Regarding how overall energy loss from the sun could cause global warming:

From NASA in 2003 (http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0313irradiance.html?ct=1)

Although total solar irradiance may decrease slightly, the trend identified in this study of increasing radiance during solar minimums would still have a warming influence on the earth. If we knew how long this trend has been present (before satellite measurements) we would have some idea how much influence it has on current warming. But we don't.

crosscountry
2007-Jul-12, 10:28 PM
First let me say that I I am not advocating doing things that will increase global warming. But the Earth has constantly been evolving. We seem to want to live in a steady state where no species will ever go extinct and man will exist forever. Something got out of the way for us and maybe it is getting to be time for us to get out of the way for the next thing.


I'm along those lines. WE don't know if Global Warming will harm or hurt the earth. The only thing I can say is that many people will die.


Species are one thing, humans are another. Our goal as scientists is to prepare people for what can happen and recommend methods to keep people alive - if they only listen.

Swift
2007-Jul-13, 12:58 PM
I'm along those lines. WE don't know if Global Warming will harm or hurt the earth. The only thing I can say is that many people will die.


Species are one thing, humans are another. Our goal as scientists is to prepare people for what can happen and recommend methods to keep people alive - if they only listen.
Funny, but I'm almost of the exact opposite opinion. If humans want to exterminate themselves, well, that's their problem. By what right do we exterminate other species (and I'm talking about species, not individual organisms).

But really, it is not an either/or - as the Earth goes, so goes the human race.

Michael Noonan
2007-Jul-13, 02:35 PM
I am not a scientist, but a layman. However, the characterization by Frazer that if it's not the Sun, cosmic rays, etc. it has to be human is the kind of flippant response that perpetuates emotion, not rational thought.


I too am not a scientist but should point out that we have to start somewhere. Certainly it may have been helpful if Sir Isaac Newton had also theorised general and special relativity.

There may be and probably will be a vast array of numbers. We could look for a more inert object, is there a range of temperatures for the moon that could be a reference point.

The key to this and any issue is that we have the best minds on the planet giving this phenomenon deep consideration. It may be cosmic output, internal heat release, atmospheric constituents, magnetic field variance, aerosol effect, atmospheric radiation, transpiration plant cycle, human intervention, deep ocean chemical reactions or interaction as our position in a dwarf galaxy crossing the milky way takes effect to name just a small sample.

It may well swing again, the key will be to observe and be as pro-active as is reasonable to ongoing sustainable development as well as learning more of the modes this surprising world has to offer. Until then the world is calling the tune and like any dance it is better if all the partners are sociable.

Aqualung
2007-Jul-13, 04:54 PM
People keep harping on about CO2 emissions and how they doom the earth to a broiling death. Dont forget that CO2 is not as good a greenhouse gas as methane. There are billions of domesticated animals pumping tons of the stuff into the atmosphere every day. Maybe we should consider reducing their numbers at the same time as we reduce CO2 emiting, man made, devices. Or are they considered to be a 'natural source' for the gas.

How can the sun not be responsible for climate change, at least in part. It changes the temperature of half the globe on a daily basis, raising deserts from freezing cold to scorching hot in a few hours.

crosscountry
2007-Jul-13, 05:10 PM
People keep harping on about CO2 emissions and how they doom the earth to a broiling death. Dont forget that CO2 is not as good a greenhouse gas as methane. There are billions of domesticated animals pumping tons of the stuff into the atmosphere every day. Maybe we should consider reducing their numbers at the same time as we reduce CO2 emiting, man made, devices. Or are they considered to be a 'natural source' for the gas.

How can the sun not be responsible for climate change, at least in part. It changes the temperature of half the globe on a daily basis, raising deserts from freezing cold to scorching hot in a few hours.

I think you should have read the article.:doh:

crosscountry
2007-Jul-13, 05:14 PM
Funny, but I'm almost of the exact opposite opinion. If humans want to exterminate themselves, well, that's their problem. By what right do we exterminate other species (and I'm talking about species, not individual organisms).

But really, it is not an either/or - as the Earth goes, so goes the human race.



I think therefore I am. It is sad to think Animals will and can die. I'm not sure they know though.


I have seen dogs get sad when another dog dies, but I'm not sure they remember that long.

I eat animals too.

Lurker
2007-Jul-13, 05:20 PM
People keep harping on about CO2 emissions and how they doom the earth to a broiling death. Dont forget that CO2 is not as good a greenhouse gas as methane. There are billions of domesticated animals pumping tons of the stuff into the atmosphere every day. Maybe we should consider reducing their numbers at the same time as we reduce CO2 emiting, man made, devices. Or are they considered to be a 'natural source' for the gas.

How can the sun not be responsible for climate change, at least in part. It changes the temperature of half the globe on a daily basis, raising deserts from freezing cold to scorching hot in a few hours.
This I can't remember for sure... but I think I read somewhere that termites are the single greatest producer of methane on the planet... Not putting forth any sort of theory or argument here, it was one of those amazing facts that stuck with me. Anyone know if I remember this right?? :think:

I would say that, for those studying the dynamics of climate change and the current ice age, there appear to be a a lot of interrelated factors that influence global climate change. Currently many believe that there is no single factor that is responsible for the current ice age, and its attending instability, but rather combination of factors perhaps with some triggering factor.

It does appear that the procession of the equinox and and greenhouse gases are most certainly factors, but something has triggered the current ice age and produced strong instabilities in climate that have been missing through out most of the history of the planet. There have been theories put forward for this "triggering factor" have ranged from galactic dust clouds to changes in deep sea currents caused by the movement of Antarctica over the south pole or the development of the Ismuth of Panama.

cbacba
2007-Jul-15, 04:51 PM
I remember a tv program discussing insects(nova? discovery channel??). There's 2000 pounds per human. They have high metobolic rates (due to their tiny size) and they produce co2 and ch4 in large amounts. A back of the envelop calculation indicated they are over 100 times more active than the natural emissions by a human or larger animal. Termites by mass make up about half of this.

It turns out that insects are not even the predominant nonvegetation biomass involved in natural processes. Bacteria outdoes them.

One of the great assumptions which may or may not be true is that it is assumed these are in balance and haven't changed over the years. Nature doesn't necessarily perform balancing acts. Locust plagues have been known since recorded history and man's involvement in negative effects on the ecology include unintended and accidental consequences, like the release of vermin into systems with no natural predators.


When one tries to equate something like domestic animals to part of man's activities it starts getting to be even more troubling. We've seen the demise of massive amounts of buffalo on the american plains where reports were of millions of them once upon a time. Lots of wild creatures were hunted as well starting from prehistoric times. It is another unfounded assumption that domestic animals have increased the animal kingdom's 'carbon footprint' by any significant amount versus a merely a shifting from wild to domesticated.

If one considers that climate has an effect upon wildlife and upon insects, then the fact that we just got out of a mini iceage a couple of hundred years back and a full blown one just over 10000 years back, it is not a good idea to simply assume that there is some sort of balance or steady state for the insect population or bacteria population or animal populations for that matter.

GOURDHEAD
2007-Jul-17, 12:26 PM
Fraser, ............

And that's not leaving them much room other than to dispute the actual evidence.

Regards,
MattLet's review the actual evidence.

How has the temperature been monitored over various intervals of time?
1. Simultaneity
2. Volumetric cell size
3. Tolerances on the accuracies of ice cores, tree rings, etc.,

How has the amount of CO2 been measured over various intervals of time?
1. Number of locations.
2. Influence of local conditions.
3. Simultaneity and accuracy.

How does CO2 deliver denergy to the rest of the atmosphere?
1. Passes the energy from the excited states of the CO2
molecule kinetically to surrounding molecules.

2. Reflects energy in photon form bact towards the ground
which by interaction with molecules experiencing browian motion
gets "modulated" to lower frequencies which pass through the
atmosphere and out into space on subsequent attempts.

3. Method and accuracy of such measurements.