Top Ten Global Warming Myths

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    Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    The Arctic is melting. But is it really the result of global warming? And if global warming is happening, how do we know humans have had anything to do with it? How can we be sure?

    Here are ten of the questions most frequently posed by people who are skeptical about whether or not global warming is happening. Some of the answers may surprise you.


    Myth #1: It’s cold outside, so that means global warming isn’t happening.

    Fact: Individual weather events bear little relation to global warming.

    The temperature outside – or the weather in general – at any given moment has nothing to do with whether or not global warming is happening. Global warming is determined not by individual weather events, such as heat waves or cold snaps or hurricanes, but by the global mean surface temperature – an average of the temperatures recorded throughout the world over a long period of time. North America experienced a fairly normal winter in 2006-2007, and some parts had extremely cold weather this year – in fact, another Minnesota-based polar expedition, the Bancroft/Arneson Expedition, was cut short partly because of unexpectedly cold weather in Alaska. It is also important to place this in the context of an Arctic winter – even if the overall temperature is climbing, it’s still an Arctic winter, and there will still be cold snaps and blizzards.

    Just as individual weather events do not “prove” or “disprove” global warming, neither do individual seasons. It is important to stress the fact that global warming is something that is measured by temperature patterns rather than separate events. It is true that the 2006-07 winter was, globally, the warmest winter on the temperature record. But of far greater significance is the fact that the ten warmest years ever recorded on the temperature record were the years 1997-2007.

     

    Source: Realclimate.org, “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion”

     

     

     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    Myth #2: The Medieval Warming Period was at least as warm as the current global temperature.

    Fact: The Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age only occurred in the North Atlantic.

    The Medieval Warming Period was not a worldwide phenomenon. Initial temperature studies for the Medieval Warming Period were only conducted in Europe. There was, in fact, a period of unusually warm weather in the North Atlantic region that lasted for several hundred years. It was followed by a period of unusually cool weather in the North Atlantic region called the “Little Ice Age.” But when temperature records for the entire planet were calculated into the equation, the temperature graphs looked for more normal – and certainly nothing even close to the rapidly increasing global temperature of recent years.

    Sources: Realclimate.org, “The Medieval Warm Period”

     

     

     

    Myth #3: The reason people think global warming is happening is because of the “hockey stick” graph, which is completely inaccurate.

    Fact: The hockey stick graph is just one of many temperature-record graphs conducted by independent researchers that have reached very similar conclusions about warming in the last 150 years.

    The famous “hockey stick” graph was developed by a single team of paleoclimate researchers and represented a sharp warming period at the end of the twentieth century after thousands of years of relative stability. This graph was based on analysis of several variables, including data from ice cores and tree rings. Later studies analyzed different combinations of data. They came up with a wide variety of findings in terms of paleoclimate data, but nearly all of them showed the same sharp “spike” in temperatures at the end of the twentieth century. Therefore, it can certainly be argued that there were much warmer periods in the Earth’s history, such as the Eocene climatic optimum (which ended 33 million years ago, when there were palm trees and alligators in the Arctic Circle). However, the most striking element of these temperature graphs is not how warm it’s getting overall, but how fast it’s getting warm. Temperature increases cause by factors other than CO2 (such as changes in the Earth’s orbit) would take place over a relatively long period of time. In stark contrast, the global temperature has risen rapidly over the past century.

    Source: The IPCC Report, “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis,” Summary for Policymakers

     

     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    Myth #4: The Earth is getting warmer because the Sun is getting warmer.

    Fact: The Sun has warmed the Earth .02 degrees in the last century, whereas in the same period of time, carbon dioxide warmed the Earth .09 degrees.

    The question of whether or not the Sun itself is putting out more heat nowadays is a contentious one among climate scientists. Opinions are currently divided, based on difficult-to-measure data, about whether or not the sun is even getting warmer. The scientific uncertainty on this particular issue has been used by politicians (such as Senator James Inhofe, R-OK) to “prove” that human beings have not had an impact on the rising temperatures – they choose to side with the scientists who claim that the sun has warmed. But even the scientists who claim that the sun has warmed point out that the warming they have observed is almost negligible.

    Take a look at the graph below from the IPCC Report. It shows that there are indeed a number of factors that affect the global temperature. The most significant of these by far, however, is the effect of human influence through increased output of CO2.

    Image source: IPCC

    Supplementary materials on this topic can also be found on Realclimate.org.

    Sources: Realclimate.org, “How Not to Attribute Climate Change” and “Taking Cosmic Rays for a Spin;” The National Center for Atmospheric Research, "Present Climate: How Do We Know Earth is Warming Now?"

     

     


    Myth #5: The global mean surface temperature actually decreased between 1940 and 1970, so that means CO2 emissions have nothing to do with global warming.

    Fact: The global cooling of 1940-1970 was caused by aerosols in the upper atmosphere blocking the sun’s rays.

    Increased industrial production in the years between 1940 and 1970 caused an increase in aerosol emissions, most notably sulfates. These particles are highly reflective and created an albedo effect in the upper atmosphere, blocking solar rays. Pollution control implemented during the 1970s caused the concentration of aerosols in the atmosphere to decrease. In fact, if it had not been for the presence of reflective aerosols, the global temperature would have likely risen, not fallen, during that period of time.

    Source: The National Center for Atmospheric Research, “Present Climate: How Do We Know Earth is Warming Now?”

     

    TO BE CONTINUED....

     

     
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  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from BobinVa. Show BobinVa's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    Myth #1: It’s cold outside, so that means global warming isn’t happening.

    Fact: Individual weather events bear little relation to global warming.

    Fact: So why have scientists and the media said this ?
    "It's warm outside, so that means gloabal warming is happening."
     Every bad weather event and every heat wave is blamed on global warming, to scare the public. Al Gore's propaganda movie on global warming claimed bad hurricanes were caused by global warming. Hurricane Katrina--global warming..
    Only in the past few years, when more extreme weather events have been extreme cold..are we told how silly that is.
    Same "having it both ways" logic as the claim Arctic sea ice is melting because of global warming, and Antarctic sea ice is increasing because of global warming... 

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from BobinVa. Show BobinVa's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]The polar ice cap has been melting 6.1% per decade. http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090804_Figure3.png
    Posted by Kirk6[/QUOTE]

    George Will Is Correct On Global Sea Ice, It Is Higher Today Than Almost 3 Decades Ago

    1980 Southern Hemisphere =  4.7 million sq km
    1980 Northern Hemisphere = 15.0 million sq km
    Total = 19.7 million sq km

    2009 Southern Hemisphere =  5.8 million sq km
    2009 Northern Hemisphere = 14.1 million sq km
    Total = 19.9 million sq km
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Charles2008. Show Charles2008's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : Myth #1: It’s cold outside, so that means global warming isn’t happening. Fact: Individual weather events bear little relation to global warming. Fact: So why have scientists and the media said this ? "It's warm outside, so that means gloabal warming is happening."  Every bad weather event and every heat wave is blamed on global warming, to scare the public. Al Gore's propaganda movie on global warming claimed bad hurricanes were caused by global warming. Hurricane Katrina--global warming.. Only in the past few years, when more extreme weather events have been extreme cold..are we told how silly that is. Same "having it both ways" logic as the claim Arctic sea ice is melting because of global warming, and Antarctic sea ice is increasing because of global warming... 
    Posted by BobinVa[/QUOTE]

    Bob,
    It would just as dump to blame one event on global warming. The problem with this issue and what makes it tough to grasp for the common man.  It deals with trends and averages. Just as you can have avery major hurricane if we had no warming issue, you can have extreme cold with global warming.  The point is that, if the ocean temperatures warm more than now, the prevalence of more destructive hurricanes become that much greater because they have a bigger pool of energy to draw upon. It is really quite a simple and obvious connection.
     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : George Will Is Correct On Global Sea Ice, It Is Higher Today Than Almost 3 Decades Ago 1980 Southern Hemisphere =  4.7 million sq km 1980 Northern Hemisphere = 15.0 million sq km Total = 19.7 million sq km 2009 Southern Hemisphere =  5.8 million sq km 2009 Northern Hemisphere = 14.1 million sq km Total = 19.9 million sq km
    Posted by BobinVa[/QUOTE]


    You keep repeating the same BS.  I pointed you to a 30-year frame-by-frame winter and summer polar ice, that you decided to ignore. 
    Look with your own EYES and tell us that indeed we had more polar ice in 1980.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/apr/06/arctic-sea-ice-old-first-year

    I can show you graphs as well, but if you do not believe your own eyes, what are the chances that you will believe graphs.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Charles2008. Show Charles2008's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    Myth #6: It’s only a few degrees warmer; that’s not a big catastrophe, is it?

    Fact: “Only a few degrees of warming” would cause melting of the polar ice caps and flooding of coastal regions and island nations.

    In March 2002, the Larsen A and B ice shelves collapsed into the Weddell Sea. Although climatologists have found no evidence that all the ice in Antarctica will ever melt (it’s too cold), “calving” (large chunks of ice the size of New England states breaking off of the ice shelf) is likely to happen in both the Arctic and Antarctic. And although these ice masses will not raise the sea level further, (rather like ice cubes melting in a glass of water), it is very likely that the land-based ice that was held in place by the ice shelves will raise sea level. And though it is still uncertain how much it will rise overall, the data currently being collected is increasingly concerning for scientists. Land-based glaciers in Antarctica are already “surging” into the ocean, and the Greenlandice cap has already experienced melting. But of greater certainty is the effect of thermal expansion on the ocean. Heat causes water to expand, and all the additional heat in the ocean has been contributing to a measurable rise in sea level. At the current rate, the sea level will rise by at least three millimeters per year, the result of a combination of thermal expansion and melting polar ice. The climate models cited by the IPCC in its most recent report project a sea level rise of 7-8 centimeters per century, though some (albeit less probable) scenarios propose as much as 20-50 centimeters per century.

    Source: Realclimate.org, “Ice Sheets and Sea Level Rise: Model Failure is the Key Issue”

     

    Myth #7: The interior of Antarctica has shown an overall cooling trend in recent years, and there has been a larger than normal amount of snowfall that has actually been increasing the amount of Antarctic snow and ice. If ice mass in Antarctica is increasing, that in itself disproves global warming.

     

    Fact: Recent weather in Antarctica’s interior is a weather phenomenon and therefore does not disprove global warming.

    As stated in the rebuttal of Myth #1, localized temperatures and weather patterns do not determine whether or not global warming is happening. None of the projections of polar ice cap melting over the next 40 years express concern over ice mass loss in the interior of Antarctica. The ice mass loss on the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has been the greatest on the continent, and it is currently an area being closely watched by climatologists; there is still uncertainty about how the degree to which the ice loss is related to global warming, though many suspect that the relationship is strong. There will be more certainty on this particular issue in the coming years.

     

    Source: Realclimate.org, “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion,” and the IPCC Report, “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis,” Summary for Policymakers

     

     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    Myth #8: Global warming is caused by natural phenomena on Earth such as volcanoes and trees, not by human activity.

    Fact: Methane produced by trees is so minimal that their contribution to global warming is nullified by their own carbon dioxide absorbing properties. And volcanoes’ carbon dioxide contribution is dwarfed beside that of humans.

    It is true that a recent study shows that trees produce methane. But despite widespread misrepresentation of their work by the media, the study’s own authors claim that the trace amounts of methane produced by trees is minimal compared to the amount of methane and CO2 produced by human activity. After all, trees existed long before human activity, let alone human industry’s combustion of fossil fuels. As for volcanoes, the claim that they are responsible for global warming would sound ridiculous to a climatologist – volcanoes’ major effect on climate is a cooling one, as occurred in 1991 with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. The gases volcanoes release into the atmosphere are mostly sulfates, which, as previously mentioned, are highly reflective and deflect heat back into space. Individual eruptions do produce some carbon dioxide, but again, these amounts are dwarfed by the amount of carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuel combustion.

    Source: Realclimate.org, “Current volcanic activity and global warming?” and “Global warming - the blame is not with the plants” by Frank Kepler

     

    Myth #9: The thermometer record is skewed by the Urban Heat Island effect – because most of the world’s thermometers are in cities, and cities are disproportionately warm compared to the surrounding countryside, that is the explanation for global warming.

     

    Fact: The data used to determine global warming was collected at weather stations far away from the Urban Heat Island.

    The Urban Heat Island Effect is a weather effect that occurs in urban areas at night, on still nights when the wind isn’t blowing. Comparative analyses of measurements show that any major effect of the Urban Heat Island on the global temperature is nullified by windy nights. Overall, the effect is minimal. Additionally, the thermometer record used to calculate global warming is comprised of data collected at rural weather stations, where the Urban Heat Island effect would not influence the data.

    Source: Realclimate.org, “The Surface Temperature Record and the Urban Heat Island,” and the IPCC Report, “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis,” Summary for Policymakers

     

     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    Myth #10: We shouldn’t base political and economic decisions on some unreliable “computer modeling” because global warming is too uncertain, the risk to our economy too great.

     

    Fact: Computer modeling is mostly accurate and is used in all scientific fields – including economic forecasting.

    Computer modeling is used by scientists to understand systems that are too big and complex for simple observation. Using data from recorded observations and laboratory experiments, scientists create a bigger and more accurate picture about phenomena in our world than they ever could have made before the widespread use of computers. Economists themselves use computer modeling to make economic projections. It is true that dynamic living systems (of which ecosystems and global markets are two examples) sometimes do things that can’t be predicted by analyzing data. There is therefore still a margin of uncertainty on either side of the data produced by computer models. But computer analysis of data is currently the best tool we have in mapping out potential changes to the Earth’s climate.

     

    Source: Realclimate.org, “Short and simple arguments for why climate can be predicted”

     

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from BobinVa. Show BobinVa's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : You keep repeating the same BS.  I pointed you to a 30-year frame-by-frame winter and summer polar ice, that you decided to ignore.  Look with your own EYES and tell us that indeed we had more polar ice in 1980. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2009/apr/06/arctic-sea-ice-old-first-year I can show you graphs as well, but if you do not believe your own eyes, what are the chances that you will believe graphs.
    Posted by Charles2008[/QUOTE]

    Charles, you choose to ignore the Antarctic.
    Less Arctic sea ice, more Antarctic sea ice...
    Global warming scientists claim there is more sea ice in the Antarctic because of a hole in the ozone layer...
    More like a hole in their logic.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from movingtarget2. Show movingtarget2's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : Charles, you choose to ignore the Antarctic. Less Arctic sea ice, more Antarctic sea ice... Global warming scientists claim there is more sea ice in the Antarctic because of a hole in the ozone layer... More like a hole in their logic.
    Posted by BobinVa[/QUOTE]

    No offense, Bobin, but you observing that scientists have poor logic is like me telling a bunch of Green Berets they don't know how to shoot a gun.  Well, not exactly, because I actually understand how to shoot a gun, whereas you don't comprehend science.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Charles2008. Show Charles2008's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : Charles, you choose to ignore the Antarctic. Less Arctic sea ice, more Antarctic sea ice... Global warming scientists claim there is more sea ice in the Antarctic because of a hole in the ozone layer... More like a hole in their logic.
    Posted by BobinVa[/QUOTE]

    No. I do not chose to ignore anything.  You chose to pick the ONE area where you cannot visually see the change and ignore the other 1000 areas.
    The climate change is not so obviously discernable in Antarctic because it is a lot colder there than anywhere on earth, and would take a lot more warming to affect it.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/sea_ice_south.php

    It is also affected differently in different areas.  More ice on Ross shelf, much less so in western Antarctic. Overall, there is indeed an increase of 1% per DECADE over the last 30 years.

    But that does not change much.  Overall change on earth is striking, regarless if antarctic ice shelf increased very marginally.  Look at the rst of the world.  We are not talking 1% per decade here.
     
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  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from movingtarget2. Show movingtarget2's posts

    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths : George Will Is Correct On Global Sea Ice, It Is Higher Today Than Almost 3 Decades Ago 1980 Southern Hemisphere =  4.7 million sq km 1980 Northern Hemisphere = 15.0 million sq km Total = 19.7 million sq km 2009 Southern Hemisphere =  5.8 million sq km 2009 Northern Hemisphere = 14.1 million sq km Total = 19.9 million sq km
    Posted by BobinVa[/QUOTE]

    You really have no concept of what global warming is, do you?  Global sea ice is not as important as how what sea ice there is affects the environment.  The environment we have now is the result of a balance between the poles.  If you upset this then weather patterns and currents get all screwed up.  Imagine having one of Usain Bolt's legs and one Danny DeVito's legs.  How would this affect your golf game?
     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]The sun is at its lowest level of activity in 80 years. http://io9.com/5246304/the-sun-is-weaker-than-its-been-in-80-years-apparently
    Posted by Kirk6[/QUOTE]

    And median world temperatures have leveled off at about the same time... But no correlation at all...
     
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    Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths

    In Response to Re: Top Ten Global Warming Myths:
    [QUOTE]We created a hole in ozone the size of Antarctica. We created a pile of garbage in the Pacific the size of the state of Texas. We have increased atmospheric CO2 by 40% in the last 200 years. We are adding 10 BILLION TONS of CO2 to the atmosphere every year. We are warming the earth to such an extent, that the arctic methane may soon be released. Methane is 20 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. We are changing the earth.
    Posted by Kirk6[/QUOTE]

    What would you propose we did all these years? Stop living??? Should we all stop breathing so we don't add anymore CO2???
     
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