Every 1500 Years?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Carcano, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Excellent new book out I got today called 'Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years".

    Some reader reviews from Amazon:


    "Avery and Singer provide an excellent readable and well documented book on the global warming hoax. The reader can only conclude that this book is an invaluable resource on the topic of global warming. The work refers to a vast amount of scientific research in a wide variety of scientific journals indicating a natural sunspot magnetic wave is causing what little global warming exists. Man created carbon dixoide has very little effect on the earth's climate.

    Avery and Singer go further by providing an in depth expose of the fallacious research that alledgedly supports man made global warming. In particular the authors make an incisive investigation into the so called hockey stick hypothesis of unprecedented recent warming hoax widely enunciated by the UN's climate change panel. This hoax was first exposed by two skilled and courageous Canadian researchers - McIntyre and McKitrick.

    Pseudoscientists and others with a vested interest in controlling the global economy by use of the global warming hoax will not like this work. However informed readers concerned with human welfare and human progress will find this book invaluable. This book should be read by all Amercians and really by everone else in the world."

    "Singer and Avery have put together an amazing summary of research from an extremely wide variety of sources that bear on the question of the Earth's temperature variations. They pay particular attention to the 1,500 year (+/- 500) cycle discovered by Willi Dansgaard, Hans Oeschger, (in Greenland ice cores) and the Claude Lorius team (in Antarctic ice cores).

    Since the 1,500 year cycle was discovered in the early 1980's it's general characteristics have been confirmed by measurements in: tree rings (living, preserved and fossilized), pollen, coral, glaciers, boreholes, stalagmites, tree lines, and sea sediments. The most recent cycles have been recorded in human history with forced migrations, starvation, and disease during the cold portion of the cycle and greater population, expanded farm land, greater crop variety, and extra building during the warm portion.

    The causes of the 1,500 year cycle are not well understood although 600 of them have been identified in the last million years. This permits us to be relatively confident that we have been moving into the warm phase of the cycle for the last 150 years. It also suggests that we may have one or two degrees more warming if we are to get to the typical high of the warm phase.

    Although the warm phase of the cycle has been typically more regular than the cold phase, it does not move steadily to a peak and then fall off, but rather moves abruptly higher at the start of the warm phase followed by highly irregular (but modestly higher) temperatures for hundreds of years.

    The range of evidence the authors bring in to characterizes the 1,500 year cycle is stunning and their end-of-chapter notes (over 500) make this book the obvious starting point to study the whole issue of global warming / cooling. They have also included a well written 11 page glossary.

    The chapter on "The Sun-Climate Connection" was probably written before the publication of Hendrik Svensmark and team's experimental paper on low level cloud formation "Experimental evidence for the role of ions in particle nucleation under atmospheric conditions" (17 August 2006). Although they cite his previous work this latest paper adds experimental verification under controlled laboratory conditions for the solar winds participation in the formation of low level (high albedo) clouds. Once again carbon dioxide was conspicuous as a non-participant.

    The authors include a chapter on the Kyoto Protocol and to no ones surprise predict it's unlamented expiration in 2012. They also offer a scenario for why the Russians adopted the Protocol in spite of knowing that it is environmentally worthless.

    Those who have adopted the religion of anthropogenic global warming will not like the material presented in this summary, however science does march on and experimental evidence overrules hypotheses even if embodied in expensive computer simulations.

    Everyone interested in global temperature trends will be well rewarded by reading this book."
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So we had, what, twenty or thirty of those cycles of extreme warming during the previous glaciation?

    Their idea of global "warming" and mine seem to differ a bit.

    Does anyone here know how these authors account for the presumed lack of effect from the CO2 buildup?
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  5. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Honestly, I can't see why anyone would read that book unless (i) they are a climate scientist and the book is heavy on data to look at or (ii) they have already decided that global climate change is not a problem and they are looking for arguments--any arguments--to bolster the opinion they prefer.

    My information is that global warming is, in the opinion of the sizable majority of experts, real and caused at least in large part by man. I understand that there is a minority that disagrees. From my, non-expert, position this is rather like a debate between doctors (let's call them Doctor Al and Doctor Bob) over whether or not I have a particular kind of cancer and how to treat it. I can listen to what they tell me, and note the disagreements, but without expert training I have no logical basis to choose between them. If I read a book by Doctor Bob in which he sets forth his argument, that still will not make me an expert in evaluating Doctor Al's claim (especially if I am not buying and reading Doctor Al's books as well). Reading the book under those circumstances merely biases me.

    (There is one thing that's even worse, when non-experts present out their single-sided arguments, like Al "Inconvenient Truth" Gore or Fred "I'm not a climate scientist, but I'll tell you what I think about their many lies" Barnes.)

    It's hard to write a book that doesn't take a side on something, but it's a good idea to be wary of those too, especially when it comes to issues of major policy importance.

    As for my non-expert ass, I have to come down on the side of "I don't know, but if a majority of researchers agree with this, then I guess we have to investigate ways to mitigate the problems." The problem then is, how much am I willing to spend on this problem I presume exists? That's where I draw a complete blank. Some people tell me that the Earth is Doomed unless we act immediately (and maybe even if we act immediately), others suggest there's still time and the damage while real won't be as bad as the Doomsayers suggest.

    I trust the majority of scientists on the *trend* of global warming and on the *cause* of it, but those scientists are not economists, and probably don't have ironclad data on costs. Still their suggestions are pretty much all I have to go on (ignoring the "there's no problem" side of the debate).

    In any event, from my perspective, books like this have value to the extent they sway members of the actual scientific community, not some bozo on Amazon who probably denied global warming before he read the book. In that regard I don't see why us non-technical folks should ever read such a book. It's probably like reading a 9/11 conspiracy book or website. It sounds plausible to the non-experts who haven't studied the issue fully, but it just indoctrinates you into a way of thinking that is likely ultimately flawed once you account for all the evidence out there.

    (It's certainly possible that majority of scientists might be wrong and the minority be right, but that can be said of any scientific theory. I trust that the general theory of relativity is accurate because scientists tell me there are and because a majority of scientists seem to concur with that position. If I abandon the consensus on global warming, then I should, presumably, be abandoning the consensus on many issues.)
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  7. doodah Registered Senior Member

    I agree -- no reason to try to become more informed on different veiwpoints

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  8. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    So you, no doubt would advise we read books on the evidence for Young Earth Creationism as well? And Old Earth Creationism? And then a few on Intelligent Design that take the fossil record as real and admit "change in species over time"? Books that explain that the Moon Landing was fake? That AIDS as invented in a lab as a biological weapon?

    After all, those are just different viewpoints too. The problem is that just gathering opinions doesn't matter in science. Science is certainly not about which opinion you like best. Books like this encourage people to get arguments and the data which support them, without having any conflicting data or (just as importantly) any ability to analyze that data even if they had it.

    It's as if you started reading works on conspiracy theories or Holocaust denials ...if that is what one read, then that reader can be confused by partial data and the analysis of it that the author was correct. If that reader then goes out into the wider world, he'd have a conception of the truth that would be at odds with the view of the majority and their evidence may or may not convince him.

    In fact, their evidence probably *won't* convince that reader, because the first people to whom he explains "The Freemasons control most world governments, including the U.S." will tell him that he's crazy, but they won't know anything about world affairs, and less about the Freemasons. He'll most likely win that argument and many subsequent arguments, deepening his commitment to the conspiratorial view he first absorbed, until he comes across someone who has a very good understanding of the facts that show why he's wrong. The human mind being what it is, he may well not be convinced by those new facts, preferring instead to cling to the "truthiness" of his own position and to believe that the latest facts are "wrong" in some way.

    In the case of global warming, my non-expert opinion (however many different opinions of experts I may be able to parrot back on internet forums) is *not* going to be informed enough to be worth a goddamned thing. Neither, I suspect, is yours. The opinions of non-experts in these matters is just noise, but unfortunately it's noise that gets listened to in the political arena. In politics, in fact, they don't even care whether we're right or wrong, they just want our vote. Politics, as a result, is the worst place possible to hash out a scientific debate. A good place to do it is in scientific journals.

    Popularizations of science have their place, but from what I determine it seems clear that this book is advocacy and not a full and fair presentation of the science. There are works of advocacy on the other side too (Earth in the Balance and An Inconvenient Truth come to mind), and I don't think those should be read either.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There is also the opportunity to evaluate the quality of argument, as well as its expressed conclusion.

    It simply isn't true that books just exist to record opinions, or that all arguments are created equal. Very often one side or the other has better arguments, better evidence, a sounder approach.

    There are always experts, but one should not leave everything up to them - especially not political decisions.
  10. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    Sun Tzu is not the best possible source of advice on the deployment of cruise missiles. Likewise, a discussion of the behaviour of the climate over past millennia does not address the entirely new circumstance of billions of tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere from the combustion of fossil fuels (or indeed the increase in methane production or the specific effects of aircraft, etc.)

    Frankly, Al Gore did no favours to the scientific community, and it sounds like this book is in the same category. There are times when the accumulation and analysis of historical data are useful activities, but what is needed here is ever better modelling (and hence understanding) of current climatic phenomena. Most of those who are engaged on such work seem to see human agency playing an active role -- though such matters are not to be settled by a democratic majority.
  11. maxg Registered Senior Member

  12. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    It's amazing the level of hostility that exists for many global warming true believers towards any alternative hypothesis. It's a fanatical insistence that we accept anthroprogenic global warming without questioning it in any way or considering other mechanisms for the observed slight warming in the last century.
  13. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    It's probably because deniers fail to understand even what happened, much less why.
  14. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    But whether or not manmade global warming is real is *not* a political decision. Again, everyone and their brother having a strongly held opinion, without having the expertise needed to have a real basis on which to make such an opinion, on whether or not manmade climate change is real or just a conspiracy adhered to my many scientists simply creates noise that complicates the politics of the issue.

    There is a good reason to try to find (and for an expert to write) a fair and unbiased review of the issue, but I don't get the sense this is that book (given that it apparently concludes that global climate change is a "hoax" judging from the reviews).

    Even if the argument in the book is elegant and interesting, that makes a good book to read in the course of studying rhetoric; it and similar works of advocacy on both sides still seem to do more harm than good for any layman's understanding of climate science.

    What we should do, if anything, about climate change (whether man made or natural, assuming it exists at all) is a political decision, but it is far more complicated to make when elegant (but wrong) arguments are being put forward (as they surely are, either on the side for which the book advocates, or the other). Books like this entrench existing opinions that are based on personal preference rather than evidence, by tricking people into thinking that their side (and only their side) has the facts. Everyone, in effect, *starts to *think* he or she is expert in the topic, but instead they usually have merely found a way to justify their own preconceptions.

    I would add this, this work, and works like it might do some good if read solely by people who adamantly held the contrary view, but my impression is that these sorts of books are read by people looking to have their pre-existing beliefs affirmed, and to give them strong enough arguments that they can then stop truly listening to the other side (and just assume that the other sides information is "wrong").
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  15. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I have yet to run across a single good argument that boosting the concentration of CO2 by 40 - 80%within a century or so will have no significant effects on global weather patterns.

    I don't think anyone is arguing that global warming is not real, any more - although some were, up to about three years ago. The argument has changed to debate over the significance of anthro causation in the warming trend.

    And the arguments against significant anthro causation have so far been very weak - basically, they amount to "we don't know for sure, therefore all assertions are equivalently wrong, therefore any warnings of dire possibilities are invalid and politicized exaggerations from people with bad motives".

    Politically speaking, we are always operating in uncertainty - no one can see the future. The question is what to do.
  16. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Another big two page story yesterday in the paper, this time from Carleton University geologist Tim Patterson:


    "Here's the quick summary of his beliefs. Yes, greenhouses gases (largely carbon dioxide) can indeed turn up the heat in our climate -- but not by very much. At most, he believes, doubling the amount of carbon dioxide might add barely one Celsius degree to our climate.

    More influential, he believes, are natural ups and down caused by solar cycles, changes in Earth's orbit, and cosmic rays that affect the formation of clouds, which in turn shade the Earth's surface.

    Patterson is a geologist, not a scientist who studies the atmosphere directly. But he and many geologists have taken on the climate job by measuring what they call the paleo-record: As Earth's past ages swung through hot and cold cycles, they left different records in layers of ocean sediments, rocks, and even ice near the poles.

    The main "drivers" of climate change, he believes, is a combination of solar changes (well-known cycles of the sun's intensity) as well as cosmic rays. These combine to make clouds, and he believes the resulting sunny or cloudy periods warm or cool the climate.

    His views make him one of a minority of scientists who don't believe humans are heating up the climate -- a tiny minority, among pure climate scientists, though a more robust minority in the geology world.

    Back to Patterson: The basis of his view is that climate bounces up and down all the time naturally. Geologists are better at understanding this than scientists who study the atmosphere, he claims, because geologists are used to looking at long records -- many millions of years -- while atmospheric measurements focus on a few decades.

    "The 1930s were quite mild in the Arctic, about a degree warmer than today," and then the temperature fell from the 1940s through the 1970s.

    "Let's look at the polar bear examples. There are what, 11 populations? And most of them are really expanding. If I was a reporter here's the question I would ask: How did the polar bears make it through the 1920s and 1930s (a warm time with less ice)? Then I'd go back. How did they make it through the medieval warm period, a period of several centuries when it was still quite a bit warmer?" Then there was the Holocene Hypsithermal, a warm period of 2,000 to 3,000 years soon after the last ice age ended. The polar bears survived that, too.

    Earth is not warming, he says. "We're squiggling our way back down to the next ice age. Over the last million years ... the cycle is about 100,000 years of ice age, and 10 or 13 or 14 thousand years of interglacial" -- the warm time between ice ages.

    "It's just ratcheting down to the next ice age, no matter what. Anthropogenic warming or not. It's just Milankovitch cycles" -- cyclical changes in Earth's tilt and orbit that cause ice ages.

    "Long about the late teens, or 2020, solar cycle 25 is going to be the weakest since the early part of the 19th century, and it's coinciding with several of these orbital changes and sunspot cycles all happening at the same time. That's going to be a prelude to a significant interval of very cold conditions, as cold as the coolest parts of the Little Ice Age." (That's the period from the 16th to mid-19th centuries when mean temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere fell sharply, with the biggest drops in winter. Frozen rivers in southern England and the Netherlands were common then, though almost unknown now.) Under such conditions, he warns, western Canada's growing season would be too short to grow wheat."
  17. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    The point it, it's not wise to take drastic action when uncertain that the harm caused by your mitigation will not exceed any potential harm caused by the original problem. Especially when it's doubtful whether or not the drastic action you're proposing will have any positive effects whatsoever!
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Define "drastic". And specify how we are to avoid taking drastic action with regard to, say, our dependence on crude oil.

    The Iraq war is a very drastic action. We will be forced in many other areas, as well.

    Most of the ordinary CO2 reduction proposals are things we should be doing anyway, if we had a brain in our collective head. Drastic they may be, but drastic also describes the consequences of not doing them.
  19. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    I think people act to mitigate uncertain future harms all the time, the real question is the variance of the potential cost. If I can pay a certain cost now that I know will be likely within a certain acceptable range, that can be superior (from a risk management perspective) to a future cost that has a potentially much greater cost. People do that all the time. Sometimes they are wrong about the future cost, sometimes that are wrong about the cost of the mitigation they engage in, but it's certainly rational.

    Most people are risk averse, and prefer a known or manageable risk to the unknown, potentially higher variance one. That's why people buy insurance, even though most won't suffer a loss.
  20. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Sure, if the present cost is actually less than the future cost. For instance, I have a substantial life insurance policy to support my family should I kick the bucket.

    But many estimates of the cost of CO2 abatement run to 50% of world GDP! No one pays that much for insurance. It's not rational. That's my problem with global warming plans. Way too high a cost for way too small (and uncertain) a benefit.

    I'm happy to switch to compact flourescents (I already did, mainly to save money on power and not have to be changing bulbs all the time), build more nuclear power plants, support research into alternative energy, etc. I'll not sign on to a plan that will decrease our standard of living by over 50%. The great depression didn't even do that!
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And many estimates of the cost of life insurance include the risk of your wife or children arranging your death to collect. Did you figure that into your decision?

    Or did you stick with sensible estimates?

    Here's an example: for what the US has spent (using Iraqi money, true) on attempting to rebuild the Iraqi powerline infrastructure, every home in Baghdad could have been fitted with a solar system capable of keeping a refridgerator and air conditioner running year round, with a few light bulbs and maybe a low power computer or the like.

    That was also an opportunity to get some new ideas and technology on line and field tested, in a no-lose situation.

    That money has been lost in an attempt to keep the status quo operating in failure mode. Those kinds of failures are left out of the cost side of the equation, for status quo tech.

    What is it going to cost world GDP to not fortify itself against the effects of CO2 accumulation?
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007
  22. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Richard Tol, an economist, reckons that spending on reducing CO2 and avoiding the bad stuff that might happen, will cost less than interest rate changes by central banks.
    It is safe to say that the estimates of costs of CO2 abatement suggesting 50% of world GDP are wrong.
  23. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Unfortunately, they are just beliefs. There is no scientific evidence to suggest they are correct.

    However I shall have to put him down as an alarmist, predicting that we're going to have major famines due to the cold.

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