Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
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13-09-2013, 10:26 AM
Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Do you agree with the fact that the planet is warming up, and we need to do something about the Greenhouse Effect? Or, do you agree with some other scientists that specify that we are actually receiving less Sun, and may be going through a global cooling?

I need to write a short essay on the above. I have never really researched the issues noted and what I hear in passing seems to change and views are often quite contradicting.

It would be greatly appreciated if anyone here can point me toward a couple articles on the issue (from a reputable source but something a non-scientist can understand) so that I can come to a conclusion.

Thanks in advance.

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13-09-2013, 10:55 AM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
I find Ars Technica's coverage good for basics.

Start here; then consult the archives.

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13-09-2013, 11:02 AM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Thanks! I will look into those tonight.

It's not like I have to write a scientific paper but I would like something to back up what I say.

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13-09-2013, 11:05 AM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Check out potholer's stuff...

He's in our library list already http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...ce-Library

Such as...




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13-09-2013, 01:51 PM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Is that the actual question? Getting less sun? It sounds so, pathetically unscientific.


It would be solar insolation. Which can be affected by Milankovitch cycles. Look those bad boys up.

Also, it isn't just that CO2 is going up, it is that the carbon isotope signature is changing too. And it is becoming more more depleted with respect to carbon13. This indicates input of a very depleted source of carbon, such as coal and petroleum product. Indicating that the CO2 going into the system is directly related to humans.

Look up the end Permian mass extinction, where a massive and rapid influx of CO2 (predicted to be both less overall and less rapid than today) caused dramatic climate shifts that also led to ocean acidification and anoxia. This is the largest mass extinction ever recorded on Earth.

Also look at the reverse of what is happening today and the uplift of the himalayas. They started uplifting 50Ma, which is coincident with the glaciation of Antarctica. The general idea is that fresh exposure of the unweathered rocks now being uplifted, plus the weathering of the rocks of the Deccan Traps (coincidentally these are the rocks from the volcanic eruptions that brought about the Permian mass extinction), is a CO2 consuming process. Approximated by CaSiO3 + CO2 -> CaCO3 and SiO2. Drawdown in CO2 during that time, reduced global temperature averages and led to glaciation of Antarctica.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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13-09-2013, 01:58 PM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
And note the difference between what we call trigger mechanisms and kill mechanisms.

CO2 is not a kill mechanism, and even climate isn't a kill mechanism per se (for some species I guess it could be)

These are the triggers. CO2 increases lead to warmer temperatures, which can kill some organisms if they can't handle temp increases. This in turn impacts climate zones and redistributes flora and fauna. Causing expansion or contraction of geographic ranges, and could lead to complete loss of habitat and then becomes a kill mechanism.

More CO2, also means a lower pH in the oceans. This dissolves anything with a calcitic shell. The reverse is that lower temperatures mean less capacity for dissolved gases like CO2 in the oceans, but also less O2.

Influx of freshwater from the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet could shut down the global conveyor belt (thermohaline circulation in the oceans). This will impact climates too, and could mean places like England get colder and not hotter (it is at about the same latitude as Alaska after all). Shutting down thermohaline circulation also means less (or no) delivery of oxygen to the bottom waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. That's not good if you like to respire.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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13-09-2013, 02:05 PM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Thanks TBD...I will look into your suggestions as well...I think it is a poorly worded set up as far the 'receiving less sun' thing goes. I think, from reading the text, the implication is that the damage to the atmosphere by man is causing more sun to be reflected back or absorbed before it hits the planet. Or I could have all of it screwed up in my head.

..non-scientist that I am...Sadcryface

isn't there a coloring book or play-doh set I could learn from?

You guys are all so smart...damn.

But that is why I asked here. Wink

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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13-09-2013, 02:10 PM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
CO2 doesn't prevent any sunlight from getting in (primarily at the shorter wavelengths, like UV). What it does is to prevent the long wavelength energy (infrared) that is naturally radiated from the Earth outward (plants take in UV and visible light and give off infrared), from escaping.

Meaning that more of the energy from the sun stays in the Earth system. This is why we call it a Greenhouse since Greenhouses lets sunlight in, but prevents heat (infrared and other long wavelength energy) from getting out.

“Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley
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15-09-2013, 01:00 AM
RE: Some assistance needed please - global warming/cooling
Those who argue there is no global warming or that there is nothing to worry about rely on the fact that there is uncertainty about the extent. However there is little reason to doubt that the warming effects are real. Much has been made in conservative blogs in the past few days of the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) is anticipated to report that the range of temperature changes due to global warming has been narrowed and adjusted down a little bit as reported here:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...12464.html

The above article does a decent job of layout out where the scientific debate exists. Mostly the debate centers around what the feedback mechanisms are for an increase in CO2 levels that may amplify or mitigate the warming due to CO2 itself. TheBeardedDude summarizes the affects of CO2 well--it absorbs energy from light in the infrared range that is reflected off of the earths surface, but allows higher energy light from the sun to pass through. Nobody anywhere disputes the basic science behind CO2s ability to trap this heat along with similar characteristics of other greenhouse gases like water vapor and methane.

The extent of the knock-on effects from the initial CO2 increase is where there is still scientific debate:
--does the slight increase in temperature cause more water vapor to be in the atmosphere and amplify the warming?
--does increased water vapor lead to increased cloud coverage which may reflect more sunlight back into space, thus mitigating the increase in water vapor?
--CO2, when absorbed into water becomes H2CO3, or carbonic acid. More CO2 in the atmosphere could lead to ocean acidification, which in turn could drastically impact the balance of ocean organisms including algae which may reduce the rate at which the oceans mop up CO2 from the atmosphere.
--Modest increases in CO2 boosts plant growth which may increase the rate at which CO2 is pulled out of the atmosphere, and together with slight warming may increase the growing season in lands further away from the equator.
--Slight increases in temperature has an effect on the amount of ice in the pole regions which tends to reflect more light and heat back into the atmosphere. Less ice coverage could amplify warming.

There is a lot of debate about the extent of the effects above, but little to no debate that increased CO2 is forcing temperatures higher. Alarmists claiming we know for sure the world is doomed if we don't stop our rate of emissions do a disservice to the public by making people more skeptical of the science and more difficult for the public to embrace reasonable policies to mitigate CO2 emissions. That scientists have taken in more evidence and can now narrow the range of possible warming should be seen as confirmation of global warming, but instead will be spun by deniers as "backing away" or somehow increasing the uncertainty of the science. This is the problem of a scientific investigation being tainted by politics and journalists giving equal weight to 'both sides' of the issue.
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