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Thread: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

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    Supporting Member spot's Avatar
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    ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    We've had various arguments about Global Warming on ForumGarden, I wonder whether I could talk people into discussing it from scratch rather than occupying their alloted trench and peering over the parapet waiting for the whistle to blow? Go on, just for once, a let's work it out rather than repeat what we've heard from the propagandists. It might be a way of bringing everyone to conclusions which we can at least see are self-induced rather than politically motivated, if we've seen the process by which we've arrived at them.

    Tick these bits off until you disagree with one. I hope everyone can get to the end still agreeing but if not, say so and we'll know where we have to start discussing differences of fact.

    We've got this spinning ball in space called The Earth, it's hot in the middle because it's a little bit radioactive.

    Space has a background temperature due to the light of the stars, it's very cold.

    We happen to be fairly close to a huge great ball of radiation, the Sun. Most of the energy coming off the Sun is light, just like if you had a radiative electric fire or a rotisserie and you toasted a marshmallow. We're the marshmallow.

    Ignoring clouds and simplifying to make a point, the more a bit of the Earth is facing the Sun, the more that bit warms up. When it spins sufficiently far to be on the night side it loses heat by radiating low energy infra-red light back out into space. That's a daily cycle. Warmer, cooler, warmer, cooler. You go out an hour before dawn and you need a thick fleece on even at the tropics if it's a clear night. You go out at mid-day and you wear fewer layers of thinner material because the air's warmer and you absorb the sunshine.

    I want to concentrate on that daily cycle initially, because everything I've read so far about global warming has concentrated on world temperatures averaged over all places over complete years. They're two different timescales.

    Take a place on the equator at mid-spring when the Sun passes overhead at noon and make it a cloudless week. The difference between the shaded air and surface land temperature at an hour before sunset and an hour before sunrise is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius but we'll stick with Fahrenheit - you can convert by halving, I'm not being precise here). That's in 12 hours, a drop of roughly 6 degrees an hour of low-energy infra-red light (which is heat) radiating into space. More than that sets out, some gets reflected back by greenhouse gasses but 6 degrees an hour goes all the way and won't come back. That's the natural cooling rate for the planet when no heat's coming in from outside and the planet's at its hottest, 6 degrees an hour.

    And that's happening everywhere, I just took that spring equator as an extreme. Every point on the planet is losing heat, day and night, at something less than 6 degrees an hour. When it's cloudy less escapes so it's milder. When it's already cooler than equatorial then the rate of energy loss is less - there's a formula for by how much, it's called a fourth power black body equation and I'm not going near it, that's what climate modelers use and I don't need it here. The essential detail is that between, say, 1/10th of a degree and 6 degrees an hour, there's a constant loss of heat from the surface of the Earth.

    We know why we don't just die of cold. Every day the sun shines and more heat gets to the surface from the Sun's radiating than leaves because the Earth's radiating. The one place where that's not true, the pole furthest from the Sun, gets warmed up by transferred heat from the places where it is true, and it's only a small part of the planet. There's also that very very slow trickle of radiation heat escaping from inside the Earth but it's insignificant compared to these other energies we're looking at.

    Let's do a thought experiment and switch the Sun off. There's no heat input from outside, just that constant loss of heat day and night that's always there, 6 degrees an hour when the surface is extremely hot down to 1/10th of a degree an hour where it's currently coldest. Even at that coldest place it's a loss of a couple of degrees a day. How long does it take to - for example - freeze the oxygen out of the air and leave no atmosphere at all? Even with the heat reservoir in the sea which slows the warming and slows the cooling during normal days, I'll take a guess. It's more than six months and less than six years.

    End of experiment, the Sun's not gone out. The point remains though, that the Earth's natural reserve of heat (for want of a better expression) is let's take a figure in the middle, one year. One year, however hot things get through climate change, and all the earth's heat radiates out into space. It's doing that now, it did it last year, it'll do it again next year, the reason we don't turn to ice is that the Sun shines and pushes the same amount of heat into the planet. If it pushed more in one year, we'd get slightly warmer. If it pushed less in one year we'd get slightly colder. The Earth has absolutely no long-term reserves of heat, the thought experiment shows it doesn't. Global Warming, if it's thought of as an accumulation of heat year on year, is completely false. The Earth isn't accumulating excess heat. All of the heat we need for living here would disappear in a year if it weren't constantly being replaced. With or without the Sun shining we're losing exactly the same amount of heat as if it weren't there. With the Sun shining we get it replaced. If the earth were shielded from the Sun for even just a week the whole land surface would be as cold as the poles are now though the sea cools more slowly than that.

    So, if there's absolutely no cumulative effect of heat, what on earth is Global Warming?

    The more the air traps and reflects the heat loss, the slower the planet's heat escapes into space. The air traps and reflects that heat better as it gets more industrial effluent and more moisture in it. A balancing effect is that less Sun heat arrives if there's more clouds and bigger areas of ice worldwide. It's an unstable balance, push toward a higher average world temperature by trapping more heat and the ice tends to go, the more the ice goes the higher the average world temperature grows. That's one of the positive feedback loops and there are several. There are a few dampening feedback loops too.

    Everything to do with the average world temperature depends on the condition of the atmosphere and on the absolute amount of energy being put out by the Sun. Nothing else comes into the balance. If it goes up and we lose the ice sheets then the whole system takes an upward jolt and rebalances at that higher state, and it will do the same with any other positive feedback system which the rising average temperature triggers. Similarly if we start cooling we could trigger positive cooling feedback systems.

    The trend is toward higher average world temperatures because the trapping of heat is increasing. The trapping of heat is increasing because the industrial effluent content of the air is rising. Stopping the industrial effluent content of the air from rising isn't on anyone's agenda yet, all anyone's even talking about is stopping the rate at which it's getting worse.

    That's my piece to start a discussion. I'm desperate for someone to give me reasons why something I've said is inaccurate.
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    Not just a sheeple nvalleyvee's Avatar
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    This is my take on global warming.

    IT HAPPENS EVERY CYCLE THE EARTH GETS INTO - 10,000, or 100,000 or 1,000,000 years. Get a grip!!!!!

    What is wrong with you people! Have none of you looked at the history of the Earth?

    This global warming? - supposedly caused by mankind can be found in the dirt and ice records of this EARTH!!!! OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!!

    I'm sick and tired of this prediction. I live in the high desert. We had 5 years of drought and now we've had 3 years of monsoon. This rock we live upon has its own way of counterbalance and for us humans to think we have major effect on it is arrogant. Just flat arrogant.
    The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement..........Karl R. Popper

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    Lightbulb Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    I agree and when Mother Earth if tired of us she will shake us off like flea's on a Dog.

    This rock we live upon has its own way of counterbalance and for us humans to think we have major effect on it is arrogant. Just flat arrogant.
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    WOO HOO!!, what a ride!!!"


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    Senior Member Galbally's Avatar
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Okay here we go again, I have looked at what spot said, in terms of general principals it seems sound to me, though I need to look more carefully at it, as its a complex post.

    Firstly, I want to state quite clearly (as a scientist, because thats what I am) for those for whom the penny has not dropped, the planet is heating up due to massively elevated carbon dioxide levels in the upper atmosphere, that carbon dioxide has been produced by humans over the past 150 years, and the level of the CO2 we are emitting is still increasing, there is no sign than anyone is seriously going to deal with the issue, and climate change is, in any case, unavoidable at this stage, essentially its already too late. If we had perhaps started dealing with this around 1990 we may have had a chance, now, its too late. Deal with that, because that is the reality.

    The consequence of this is that the global mean temperature of Planet Earth is going to increase by at a minimum 2 degrees centigade over the next 50-75 years, (but I think its more likely to be up nearer the 4 degrees mark), and its going to be extremely serious for every human on this planet in terms of climate impacts. Its got nothing to do with cycles of the sun, or ice ages, or any other misinformation put out by recalitrant governments and polluting industries, and if you are American and you think your government are being honest with you, they are not, they are well aware of the situation, but refuse to deal with it for political and commercial reasons.

    The (generally) right wing US and UK economic commentators I have heard disucssing the situation frankly don't understand what they are talking about and are scientifically illiterate in general, their arguments are complete nonsense, and they should stick to discussing the collapse of their cherished equity markets (funny how they didn't see that coming either). Unlike them, and most people here I am an actual scientist and I work in this field, its happening, it is extremely serious, and we are not going to get away from it, so you should inure yourselves to that reality.

    The term "global warming" and "climate change" to me are somewhat misleading, what we actually have is an increase in the radiation energy being trapped in the atmosphere because of the increasing greenhouse effect, and this manifests itself in the climate system as more heat energy primarily, but its not the only effect, and the heating is not uniform across the planet, a lot of the energy will also be used up in increased evaporation of water, the heating up of the oceans and their expansion, and very much increased storm frequency and severity, massively increased precipitation etc. The increasing temperature will not be felt uniformly across the surface of the planet, but will be highest at the poles (which are also the most sensitive to temperature change) and lowest around the tropics.

    Also the Climate is not changing in some understandable way at the moment, it is destabilizing rapidly, and we don't know at what point a new equilibrium will be reached or where the climate is going, as the predictive models are already breaking down as the pace of destabilization accelerates year on year, and yes thats happening right now, 2008, the climate is undergoing a rapid destabilization and its rate of destabilization is increasing (and for anyone with a basic grasp of mathematics the consequences of that are self-explanatory), meanwhile the rate at which we emit Carbon dioxide is not decreasing in the slightest, it is still increasing year on year, and given what happened at Bali, that is not likely to change at any time soon, take some time to consider the implications.

    The general conclusion given by the chair of the IPCC commitee on climate change (who was at a meeting I attended several months ago) was that the predictive scientific models are already breaking down, all the data being recieved is that the climate is destabilizing more rapidly than anyone believed possible, that the best case scenario picture that is being painted is very unlikely to be the real outcome of the rapid and abrupt climate destabilization processes we are witnessing.

    It is also highly unlikely that world governments are going to make any serious attempts to actually reduce CO 2 emissions for at least the next 20 years (and he should know as he has to deal with these politicians on a weekly basis, and his opinion is that they just don't get it). It seems to me that they basically don't want to deal with the political cost. (regardless of their economic philosophy, China is now a bigger polluter than the US and the Chinese have no interest in tempering their breakneck economic growth based on coal for anyone).

    All the worlds governments are run essentially by lawyers and economists who don't understand scientific or engineering arguments and are wedded to the mantra of continuous economic "growth" based on the cheapest source of energy available at present (which is still fossil fuels), regardless of the consequences. Ultimately the scientific community has no power, and its being ignored by the sort-sighted idiots that run planet earth.

    However, once world agriculture is disrupted to the point where will start having global famines involving not millions, but billions of people (already we have problems with food supply, look at the news) and consequent political turmoil, when most of our coastal cities are inundated by rising sea levels, when the melting ice caps are almost entirely gone, as with all the glaciers on planet Earth, when Southern Europe becomes a desert, and Australia along with much of the Western US become uninhabitable, and when several of the world's major glacier-fed rivers (you know the Ganges the Indus, the Yellow River and the Yangze) start to dry up (upon which hundreds of millions of people depend on for their life), perhaps then people will start to understand the magnitude of the folly we are engaged in.

    It is a bleak picture.
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    Senior Member Galbally's Avatar
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Also the point I have heard made that the planet is not under threat is entirely true (George Carlin's routine is very funny, and he is right, its not the planet that is *****ed, but we are, big time).

    In a million years the planet will still be here and it will be perfectly fine, there will still be life and all will be well as it has been for the last 4.5 billion years. However, I will be quite surprised if human civilization survives the next 200 years, and the species itself may well be heading for a mass extinction over the next several centuries.

    Is this a good basis for this insane argument for continuing to commit collective suicide by destroying the stability of the climate we have enjoyed for the last 11,000 years (also by conincidence the only point in history where there has been any form of human civilization) and the environment it creates upon which we, as a species, depend on for all aspects of our life?

    That picture of the future we are throwing away of course includes the life of all the possible future generations of human beings (including our own children and their children), so that we personally can have more convienient and luxurious lifestyles for a few more decades? If thats the only collective response that human beings can come up with, then we deserve to go extinct and become another footnote in the biological history of this ball of rock.
    "We are never so happy, never so unhappy, as we imagine"

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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by spot View Post
    [...]
    Everything to do with the average world temperature depends on the condition of the atmosphere and on the absolute amount of energy being put out by the Sun. Nothing else comes into the balance. If it goes up and we lose the ice sheets then the whole system takes an upward jolt and rebalances at that higher state, and it will do the same with any other positive feedback system which the rising average temperature triggers. Similarly if we start cooling we could trigger positive cooling feedback systems.

    The trend is toward higher average world temperatures because the trapping of heat is increasing. The trapping of heat is increasing because the industrial effluent content of the air is rising. Stopping the industrial effluent content of the air from rising isn't on anyone's agenda yet, all anyone's even talking about is stopping the rate at which it's getting worse.

    That's my piece to start a discussion. I'm desperate for someone to give me reasons why something I've said is inaccurate.
    *sitting on the floor with legs crossed and a lollipop firmly shoved in one cheek*

    But you've described a really balanced system. Didn't the earth get hotter and cooler before industries? Ice ages & stuff?

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    LIFE IS SHORT...LIVE HARD Nomad's Avatar
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Tick these bits off until you disagree with one. I hope everyone can get to the end still agreeing



    Why is the optimum goal for everyone to agree with you ?
    Lets discuss this shall we ?
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Okay, hole in the ozone layer................someone want to explain that?

    so with all the cycles (granted ) We've never had a hole in the layer this is new ****.

    Comment?

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    LIFE IS SHORT...LIVE HARD Nomad's Avatar
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

    Well not being a climatologist or any other type of ologist and only a pretend mad scientist in my laymans term mind you have omitted important aspects and subtle nuances that effect the overall general well being of the planet.

    Its a fact that the polar ice cap is melting at an alarming rate.
    This is new for us so it should be considered pertinent. It may be cyclical but on a much broader scale than your 24 hr Earth cycle example.
    The effects of the ice cap will change our planets average temp considerably.
    Why is this happening ?

    I believe the El Nino and La Nina phenomenon will be amplified by more and warmer water circumnavigating the globe which will in turn alter tradewinds and tides and so on and so on.

    You gave a compelling argument but in scientific terms its possible your theory might be a little over simplified.
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    Re: ForumGarden's prediction regarding this so-called Global Warming crisis

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    Quote Originally Posted by nvalleyvee View Post
    This is my take on global warming.

    IT HAPPENS EVERY CYCLE THE EARTH GETS INTO - 10,000, or 100,000 or 1,000,000 years. Get a grip!!!!!

    What is wrong with you people! Have none of you looked at the history of the Earth?

    This global warming? - supposedly caused by mankind can be found in the dirt and ice records of this EARTH!!!! OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!!!

    I'm sick and tired of this prediction. I live in the high desert. We had 5 years of drought and now we've had 3 years of monsoon. This rock we live upon has its own way of counterbalance and for us humans to think we have major effect on it is arrogant. Just flat arrogant.
    That's the first post to the thread that I challenge on the question of fact. That post carries propaganda and not meaningful information. Firstly, the "history of the Earth" is irrelevant if you go back before mammals became prominent since life can live anywhere and we're concerned here about the current forms of life which we'd quite like to avoid losing - things like all the mammals for example. Secondly, within that most recent 50 million year period (and I note your timescales of 10,000, or 100,000 or 1,000,000 years) there's no instance of an atmosphere so overloaded with contaminants, either soot or carbon dioxide or methane - we're out on an unprecedented limb already and we're going further into the unknown each year as far as they're concerned. The current state of the atmosphere can't "be found in the dirt and ice records" as you claim (within 50 million years of the present) and it's definitely "caused by mankind".

    As Galbally says, the planet and life will still be here whatever we do but it won't be woolly or go baa, perhaps it will click instead. If we want to continue our residency we have to bring the atmosphere back into a sustainable state.

    nvalleyvee, I've made two testable statements there. The atmosphere's further out of whack than it's been in the last 50 million years and the reason it's so far out of whack is that mankind has polluted it into that condition. Both of those statements contradict what you posted and only one of us can be right. Would you like to show me up with credible evidence that either claim I've made is wrong?


    Fuzzy - the "was there an ozone hole in the past" - I've no idea how anyone could find out. You'd need something in the record of the past that you could look at and say "wow, big ozone hole back then" and I've no idea what test that could be. Maybe it was there, maybe it wasn't. It was there the first time anyone took measurements and it's got bigger since.
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