October 25, 2007 at 4:34 am #25293
note: below is an email from my brother Pete Winn, a geologist out in Colorado. Geologists take a very long term view of things….which, being very geo/Earth centered, is kind of Taoist view of looking at the big cycles, not the little ones. Seems he would like to revoke the Nobel Prize awarded to Al Gore…..:
Geologically global warming is a short term (10,000 to 100,000 year) problem. The earth is cooling – we’ve had polar ice caps for 1.5 million of the past 2 million years, a longer period of time than earth has experienced in the past two hundred million years. During the entire Mesozoic, global temps were 7-10 F warmer than we have today, and sea level was 200′ higher (it was also this high during the last interglacial period less than 500,000 years ago).
The three longest interglacial periods during the past 2 mil years each lasted about 100,000 years. Others (there were 10-12 of them) lasted as little as 10,000 years. We’re about 10,000 years into this one, no telling if it will last another 90,000 years or if it’s nearly over. Frankly, it’s ludicruous to think we humans caused this interglacial period, and it’s ludicrous to think we can stop it.
It’s neither bad nor good, it just is. We humans evolved from hunters and gatherers to internet surfers during the current period of warming – is that bad? We shouldn’t be wasting effort on “stopping warming”, we should be thinking of ways to deal with it. I’ll wager that within a decade that the scientific community begins to recognize that 1) global warming is largely caused by astronomical factors (humans may be accelerating it, but the polar caps on Mars are also melting and we’re not causing that!), 2) water vapor is a far more effective green house gas than CO2, and 3) water vapor is also a very effective thermostat.
Evaporation causes cooling, clouds also cool by reflecting solar energy, and they are ultimately the source of moisture that forms glaciers. Neither atmospheric CO2 levels measured since the 1930’s nor CO2 levels inferred from carbon isotope studies in limestones (atmospheric CO2 is in dynamic equilibrium with CO2 in ocean water, which covers 75% of earth) over the past 200 million years support the contention that CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas, and in fact it may follow and enhance, not precede, global warming.
You and I live well above sea level and near a mountainous area. It may get warmer, but we won’t get flooded by rising seas, and the mountians will attract clouds of fresh water. Enjoy your life!
Pete WinnOctober 25, 2007 at 5:33 am #25294
… if you DO happen to live closer to sea level, strongly suggesting moving!
Wilcock is always saying that ALL the planets’ temperatures are rising. The situation is at least solar-system-wide. jOctober 25, 2007 at 11:01 pm #25296
I find it interesting you are posting this in the philosophilcal section. As some might see it as a science issue. But I see it as science being used to back up unconscious disharmonies, same could be said of even spiritual science.October 26, 2007 at 12:42 am #25298
The global warming debate seems to be couched into two camps:
1. There is no such thing as human caused global warming; it
is all a natural planetary cycle.
2. Humans are *the* source of global warming, and we are radically
and dangerously changing the planet–which will ultimately destroy
I think either idea is short-sighted.
The reality is that the planet is naturally warming due to built
in cyclical mechanisms, BUT that we are exacerbating the problem
due to out of control CO2 emissions among other things.
It is no doubt that no matter what we do, the planet WILL continue
on (undestroyed), and that *some* form of life will persist on the
planet (as in the Mesozoic).
The real question however, is whether we want to accelerate
the natural change to such a degree that we, as the
human species, suddenly have no livable habitat.
Clearly if the planet feels like things have gotten too far out
of whack, it will simply correct the problem itself. It has the
intelligence to do so. The problem is that the human species
won’t like the correction. It will be very destructive to us, from
our point of view. Other forms of life will arise to fill the niche,
but I don’t want to have to reincarnate as some big slimy jellyfish
because the planet is now completely covered in 85 degree warm water
and the sky is filled with continual hurricanes.
I for one personally love having incarnated here, and don’t much
want to be “evicted” because I didn’t take care of my home. I for
one would much prefer the lease to run full term, not be terminated
early–because I accelerated the time-frame to lease-termination,
i.e. new ice age, geological and weather restructuring, or whatever
else the planet might decide to do.
“Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is.”–YodaOctober 26, 2007 at 11:05 am #25300
I just want to walk downtown without all the poisonous exhaust fumesOctober 26, 2007 at 5:32 pm #25302
>>>>>Neither atmospheric CO2 levels measured since the 1930’s nor CO2 levels inferred from carbon isotope studies in limestones (atmospheric CO2 is in dynamic equilibrium with CO2 in ocean water, which covers 75% of earth) over the past 200 million years support the contention that CO2 is the primary greenhouse gas,>>>>>>
This is in contradiction to what followed!
>>>> and in fact it may follow and enhance, not precede, global warming. >>>>>
either there was an correlation betwean CO2 concentration and global warming in the study or it wasn’t
By the way is the study of long term efect enough to haw knowledge of the wery short term efects from human activities?
Important though to look at posibilities that the greanhouse effect cased by co2 might be wrong. But it seems to be a big agrement by the majority of scientists lately that this hypotesis is right. There seems not to be enough evidence for the hypotesis that the global warming that happens realy fast should be cased by natural efects. So fast warming rate seems to be wery unusual if looking at long time studies.October 27, 2007 at 12:08 am #25304
I agree that it is not human caused. There are 2 observations / comments that I have on this topic.
1) The geoclimatic situation is ever changing between warming and cooling periods. Realize that the “Great Enlightenment Period for Humanity” occured during the last larger (in our limited intellectual historical context)warming cycle. There are cycles, daily, medium term, long term, longer term, etc. This is totally in line with Taoist and other cosmologies.
2) That human beings, in general, percieve that we are the sole causal factor and play a bigger role in contributing to these changes than we actually do. Not to minimize environmental stewardship. But to realize that there is a bigger force at work.
In summary, science is proving many valuable insights that are in line with spiritual knowledge and understanding.
MattNovember 7, 2007 at 5:56 pm #25306
Pete, I guess the question most people would ask – if you are right, why have 1500 scientists worldwide signed on the global warming cause? To get more grants, sell books? Could it really be that cut and dried?
Those scientists are short sighted. I know some of them. It is virtually impossible to get a grant disputing human causes of global warming, especially if you’ve already expressed this position. Environmental science has become politicized – the original precepts of the scientific method are rarely followed with respect to global warming. On the other hand, there are thousands of reputable scientists who don’t support human caused global warming – mostly from a geological and astronomical perspective. For example, ice cores from Greenland and Antartica show dramatic short term global temperature changes that occurred a hundred thousand years before humans began burning fossil fuels. We may be accelerating global warming, but their is not enough data available to make statistically significant conclusions, and furthermore it’s not clear that global warming is bad. The largest numbers of species and the largest biomasses of carbon based life have occurred during periods of high global temps.
See attached file. It may be a little dated, but geologically it’s pertinent. You can also go to any library, check out a textbook on Quaternary geology, read about ice ages and interglacial periods, and look at references to hundreds if not thousands of refereed studies on the subject. We are clearly in an interglacial period that began 10,000-12,000 years ago. Polar ice caps have retreated from 40 N (south of the Great Lakes) to 75N, a distance of nearly 3000 miles, in 10,000 years. That’s a retreat of nearly 1600′ per year on average. During this period glaciers have occasionally advanced, rather than retreated (the Little Ice Age that caused massive migrations from Europe to North America in the 1800s – our Irish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish heritiage – they developed most of our mines in Idaho and Montana in the late 1880s and many of my colleagues are their great grandsons), and at other times glaciers have retreated at rates greater than the rates that are currently causing panic (which are lower than the average).
Human caused global warming is a predictive model, based on laboratory experiments and very limited statistics. Statistics from the mid 1930s to the mid 1970s showed that global atmosphere cooled, in spite of increasing atmosperic CO2. The scientific method simply states 1) make an observation (rising CO2 causes global cooling), 2) make a hypothesis (rising CO2 causes global cooling), and 3) test it. If you use the period from the mid 1970’s to early 2000s, CO2 has continued rise but temps are also rising, contradicting the hypothesis. How can anyone conclude that rising CO2 has any relationship to global temperature? The global warming political scientists have proposed many theories to explain this aberration, which to me is putting the cart before the horse.
Let me give you another example, from elementary statistics. The general rule is that the more data you have, the more you can rely on conclusions drawn from trends within the data. So, if you have a jar with 9 white marbles and 1 black marble and you take out one marble (but you don’t know the color distribution), there’s a 90% chance you’d think all of the marbles were white. Expand the data to 90 white and 10 black, and take out 10 marbles, then expand it to 900 white and 100 black and take out 100 marbles, etc. The larger the sample, the closer you will get to the true ratio of 9 to 1. Another example: when Cindy was a young hydrologist, she measured two 100 year floods on rivers in Arizona in three years (77-79, very exciting times). This was so statistically improbably that had USGS revise their analysis. They were making projections about the frequency of 100 year floods based on data from 60 years. Realistically, they need good data from 1000 years to even begin to make 100 year flood predictions. I frequently deal with statistical problems in my work – how many samples and at what grade to we need to make a decision to spend millions or tens or hundreds of millions to justify starting a mine? Certainly we wouldn’t use 70 conflicting samples (the global warming data from 1930-2000).
Using tested methodologies from chemistry and physics, geoscientists have developed geothermometers based on isotopes of various elements, including carbon and oxygen. The attached article summarizes multiple studies using those geothermometers. Although not as precise as measurement of current atmospheric CO2 levels and temperature, the trends are very consisent and match very well with other types of data, such as fossil distribution over time (total species and total biomass), total coal and other carbon based fuels derived from plant mass, etc. Among geologists, there is a stong consensus that earth has been cooling over hundreds of millions of years (and probably since its formation over four billion years ago), and that we are in a temporary interglacial warming period during a major cooling phase.
Robin posted a similar email from me earlier this year and the not surprising response was that most people believe the mainstream news (NGS, Gore, etc), however an increasing number of people are beginning to express concern about spending billions on “stopping a volcano from erupting”, rather than spending billions to adjust to inevitable change. Again, read State of Fear. I think Crichton’s theory has some merit, and Gore’s prize just confirms it for me.
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