Global Something

How do we know the globe is warming?  Because glaciers are melting, silly.

Well recently, we found that glaciers have been shrinking for the last 700 to 6500 years , depending on where you look.  I don't know about you, but I wasn't driving a car, cutting a lawn, barbequing, or even breathing that long ago.  It wasn't my fault.

But apparently, not all glaciers are shrinking now.  Discovery reports on a group of 230 glaciers that are growing, and have been for three decades.

But I'm sure this has nothing to do with a more quiescent sun.  National Geographic reports that 

"The sun is the least active it's been in decades and the dimmest in a hundred years. The lull is causing some scientists to recall the Little Ice Age, an unusual cold spell in Europe and North America, which lasted from about 1300 to 1850."

Now don't go all denial over this.  Scientists are already on the case.

"Mike Lockwood, a solar terrestrial physicist at the University of Southampton in the U.K. ... and other researchers are therefore engaged in what they call ‘preemptive denial' of a solar minimum leading to global cooling.  Even if the current solar lull is the beginning of a prolonged quiet, the scientists say, the star's effects on climate will pale in contrast with the influence of human-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

"I think you have to bear in mind that the CO2 is a good 50 to 60 percent higher than normal, whereas the decline in solar output is a few hundredths of one percent down,' Lockwood said. ‘I think that helps keep it in perspective.' "

In logic, they call this fallacy "begging the question," or assuming what needs to be proved.  Here they use CO2 concentrations to "prove" that CO2 is warming the planet.  Did you catch that, boys and girls?  When taking the globe's temperature, ignore actual temperature readings; just look at CO2 concentrations.

I'm not sure what a "normal" concentration of CO2 is by the way, but in the last 100 years it went from about 0.028% of the atmosphere to 0.038% .  Scared yet?

Now if CO2 concentrations are increasing, and have been for about 100 years straight, but the globe is cooling and glaciers are growing (at least some of them), what would you conclude about CO2's effect on global temperatures?

Here are a few hints.

  • While man-caused CO2 has been steadily increasing for the last 100 years or so at least, global temperatures rose from about 1880 to 1930, then cooled until about 1980, then rose again until about 1998, then cooled again.
  • Glaciers have been, generally, melting for hundreds to thousands of years.  In at least some cases, though, they have been growing for the last three decades.
  • While CO2 had been steadily increasing, sun activity has been cyclic.  It is currently fairly quiet, roughly coinciding with global cooling in the last 10 years and, perhaps, some glaciers growing in the last few decades.
  • The sun is a star the size of 1.3 million planet earths, fueled by high temperature nuclear reactions, about 8 light-minutes away from us.  It could have storms so powerful that they wipe out our power grids for  months .

I'm just saying.