Gormley makes no sense on Global Warming


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I was listening to local radio personality John Gormley rant on about what calls enviro-fascists making seemingly ridiculous statements about how the warming of the earth will slow or plateau over the next 7 years because of natural variations in the Earth’s climate.

Climate scientists understand that there are completely natural things and manmade things that influence temperature up and down on the earth.  Increased sun activity will warm the earth.  Huge volcanic eruptions cool the earth.  CO2 warms the earth while certain kinds of pollution cool the earth.  Each of these "forcings" can influence the climate in different directions. 

In 1998 increased CO2 combined with natural variations in climate like El Nino made it the hottest year on record.  It hasn’t been warmer since because there aren’t always natural and manmade forcings combining to force the temperature up.  In the last 10 years the rate of temperature increase has been muted because natural variations were influencing the temperature lower.   This isn’t a sign that global warming isn’t real, it just slowed down.  This position is nothing new for scientists.  Certain folks in the media paint this as if the IPCC needs to change its story now that things aren’t getting warmer quicker.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  If the temperature doesn’t trend upwards over the long term then people can proclaim global warming dead.

Looking at the following temperature graphs I’d say that the last 6 dots don’t exactly show enough of a trend to disregard global warming.

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I pulled the graphs and the cartoon from Skeptical Science.

  1. #1 by lrbinfrisco on May 2, 2008 - 9:23 am

    Approximately how many dots in your opinion would it take to “show enough of a trend to disregard global warming?”

  2. #2 by Leighton Tebay on May 2, 2008 - 11:40 am

    What would it take? I’d say if the 10 year moving average started sinking and/or the temperature closely tracked natural variations in things such as solar output.

  3. #3 by lrbinfrisco on May 2, 2008 - 12:03 pm

    That’s a reasonable answer.

  4. #4 by mick on May 2, 2008 - 2:13 pm

    Nothing makes global warming like starting the graph at the end of the Little Ice Age. Never woulda thunk it warms after ice ages, but then again I’m a denier and lack brain matter.

  5. #5 by Leighton Tebay on May 2, 2008 - 4:50 pm

    Mick:
    a) my graph has nothing to do with proving global warming, but to demonstrate that there isn’t enough evidence to say that the earth is cooling or that global warming has stopped.

    b) Yes it warms up after the end of an ice age until the beginning of another one. That doesn’t prove the warming we have now is consistent with the natural climate factors that would cause or end an ice age.

    If the current warming trend is natural what is causing it? Solar output? Cloud variation? Ocean currents? All these theories have been tested and retested and upon peer review found wanting. Green house gases aren’t the perfect answer but they are by far the best answer.

    c) Calling yourself a denier and proclaiming you “lack brain matter” is just a poor rhetorical ploy to paint yourself as a persecuted victim of the irrational global warming majority. If want to debate the facts please stick around but I have no use for games.

  6. #6 by Jeremiah on June 12, 2008 - 8:19 pm

    Oooo, touchie. You failed to mention that as the earth warms up, Canada is gaining more arable farmland… From tundra to vineyards, oh ya.

  7. #7 by Jeremiah on June 12, 2008 - 8:20 pm

    oh ya, wear sunscreen

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