posted in response to a forum topic using a Bob Giegengack biographical piece ( http://phillymag.com/articles/science_al_gore_is_a_greenhouse_gasbag ) in an attempt to discredit climate science
'"For most of Earth history," he says, "the globe has been warmer than it has been for the last 200 years. It has only rarely been cooler."'
I like that... I mean, for most of earth's history, it was a ball of semi-molten rock. no life. sounds like fun to me.
but seriously, that article is pretty weak. "lets do a biography on a climate skeptic. we can even include a few bite size chunks of stuff that sounds like science, but doesn't include any figures. it'll definately stop people believing this climate change crap, and stop the voting for Gore!"
the four bits of info that I got from that that were in any way intellectual and related to climate change were:
Milankovic cycles: true, it does have an impact. Newscientist had an interesting, if a little hyped, article on this a few months ago, saying that the cycles were probably peaking right now, and that it would have some effect.
the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (just out this morning in france) claims that the radiative forcing of anthropogenic carbon emissions is somewhere around 2.1-2.5 Watts/meter squared. to be honest, I have no idea what this measurement means for the future, but I CAN compare it to the next measurement they present: solar radiative forcing since 1750: 0.12w/m2. half that of the GHG. current carbon levels are 380ppmv, and in 1750, they were closer to 280. BAU predictions say we'll reach 5-700 by 2050. that's an extra 100-300%. a drop in solar radiative forcing might have an impact, but only a small one, and we're hardly gonna feel it.
the icecaps melting: if the arctic icecap melts, the polarbears will almost certainly die out. and is is melting. predictions from observations in the last few decades say that it will be gone in summer in about 60 years:
sealevel rising: of course it's rising - even Giegengack knows that. the problem is that he seems to think that just because it's been slow until now, that it's going to remain so. the problem it that sea ice, which has had a habit of breaking off over the last few decades (don't blame global warming, blame terrorists!) ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6218333.stm , http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=3840 , http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1880566.stm ). and sea ice also had a habit recently of stopping the land ice from moving. that is, it acts as a kind of buttress against the polar glaciers. when the sea ice breaks up, the glaciers start moving faster. and it's the glaciers that are the problem, because the while they once stored huge amounts of water on land, they are now moving towards the ocean.
it's true that Al Gore's movie was soppy (the my history bits anyway), and emotional. but it also presented a lot of hard science, which when you compare it to the majority of the climate skeptic camp media (emotive AND low on information, or even lies, in the case of the CEI), makes it seem that much more rational.
if this Giegengack really reckons that climate change isn't happening, or isn't serious, then he should publish a scientific paper on it, and prove his case. otherwise, it seems he's all talk.
Originally posted on the OpenDemocracy.net Forums: http://www.opendemocracy.net/forums/thread.jspa?forumID=179&threadID=47…