Re: CLIMATE: Cooling, not warming...

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 19:32:21 MST

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Damien Raphael wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 04, 2002 at 06:20:52PM -0000, steve wrote:
> > No, I don't think that is what Mike is saying, he is arguing that things are
> > much less certain than much of the reporting we get supposes. A lot of this
> The greenhouse effect is real. (See Venus, or basic planetary science
> calculations about the temperature of the Earth.)

This is not in doubt. What is in doubt is that anthropogenic inputs are
increasing it outside the range typical of the last few million years.
In fact, ice core data from Antarctica directly contradicts the claims
of the chicken littles.

> CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
> We're pumping CO2, and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.
> Especially in the case of coal, the CO2 was sequestered hundreds of
> millions of years ago when (1) the sun was dimmer than today and (2) the
> Earth was warmer than today.
> What's the basis for a default presumption that the Earth wouldn't be
> getting warmer?

The problem is that CO2 based warming is not a linear progression.
Warming from CO2 follows a diminishing returns curve at our atmospheric
pressure (note that Venus has over 90 Earth atmospheres, not to mention
is half the distance to the sun). As concentrations rise, the added
warming continues to decrease. CO2 is a very weak greenhouse gas
compared to others like methane and water, as well as sulfur oxides.

> Someone else asked why we would want to keep the climate at a set point
> even if we weren't responsible for changing it. Well, I like the fact
> that a good winter will kill a lot of insects and parasites. Winter has
> been called one of the larger contributions to northern public health.
> I don't want to go home to Chicago some day and get malaria.

Well, it doesn't really, they just hybernate. Winter is also a detriment
to public health: it contributes to reductions in exercise and therefore
obesity, while it also contributes to seasonal affective disorders,
which cause increases in suicides and homicides. It increases vehicular
accident deaths and injuries as well as hypothermia induced deaths of
senior citizens on slim heating budgets (or manipulative offspring).

Malaria itself is only symptomatic of unhealthy ecosystems. Properly
operating wetlands do not harbor malarial mosquitos, and with the recent
discovery of an effective remedy dating back to ancient egyptian texts,
I'm not too worried about it.

> And with the 70 degree Decembers Chicago and Minneapolis have been
> having for the past few years, that might not be so unlikely. The cold
> weather still breaks in by January, but the trend is rather alarming.
> For a less alarmist view, there's all this coastal property to be
> flooded...

Primarly flooded by gulf stream currents that would be more severe if
the poles were colder than they currently are. The fact is that alleged
warming in the northern hemisphere has greately reduced the number and
severity of cyclonic storms, reducing death tolls, property damage, and
coastal property losses. Three quarters of the most damaging hurricanes
to hit the US in the last century occured in the first half of that
century, NOT in the second half when all of the alleged warming occured.

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