August 12, 2008

We're All Going to Burn Up or Drown... If We Don't Freeze To Death First

Your latest global warming hysteria, courtesy of one Oliver Tickell:

We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson told the Guardian last week. At first sight this looks like wise counsel from the climate science adviser to Defra. But the idea that we could adapt to a 4C rise is absurd and dangerous. Global warming on this scale would be a catastrophe that would mean, in the immortal words that Chief Seattle probably never spoke, "the end of living and the beginning of survival" for humankind. Or perhaps the beginning of our extinction.

The collapse of the polar ice caps would become inevitable, bringing long-term sea level rises of 70-80 metres. All the world's coastal plains would be lost, complete with ports, cities, transport and industrial infrastructure, and much of the world's most productive farmland. The world's geography would be transformed much as it was at the end of the last ice age, when sea levels rose by about 120 metres to create the Channel, the North Sea and Cardigan Bay out of dry land. Weather would become extreme and unpredictable, with more frequent and severe droughts, floods and hurricanes. The Earth's carrying capacity would be hugely reduced. Billions would undoubtedly die.

Why, isn't that just peachy?

Tickell's solution to the problem? He doesn't actually have one, but he won't tell you that because he's busy whoring a book, trying to cash in on the fear to the same easily-fooled people who bought into the end of the world event known as Y2K... and we know how that turned out.

Here's the facts, folks.

The temperature of the Earth rose nearly one whole degree over the past century, but has actually been falling for the past decade (PDF).

As it now stands, the global temperature now is roughly near the median temperature of the last 2,400 years.

The highest temperatures, as recorded via the chemical record of deep-core Greenland glaciers, were during the height of the Roman Empire. Obviously, this was due to Nero's fiddling while Rome burned fossil fuels.

Over a longer-term view, the relative stability of the global temperature during the most recent interglacial period is more pronounced.

Again, current global temperatures are roughly around the median temperature of the past 10,000 years. Thag the caveman must have had a Buick.

Now let us look at the past 100,000 years, so that we understood how good we've had it as humans—there wasn't a bikini season for the previous 90,000 years.

"Ah-hah!" I can hear Global Warming true believers shouting. "See how the rise of human civilization coincides with global warming? Die, Heretic!" Rest assured I will at some point, but it most likely won't be because of global warming, as an even longer view reveals. Let's look back 420,000 years.

I'm pretty sure we weren't burning many fossil fuels way back when, as "we" didn't exist.

Once again, global temperatures seem to be part of a natural, poorly understood cycle, and our current interglacial period seems ominously close to being at an end.

I'll now turn you over to Drs. Richard A. Muller and Gordon J. MacDonald, whose charts I've been so shamelessly borrowing thus far from the introduction of Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes: data, spectral analysis, and mechanisms, for the big let down for the Global Warming Faithful.

From this plot, it is clear that most of the last 420 thousand years (420 kyr) was spent in ice age. The brief periods when the record peaks above the zero line, the interglacials, typically lasted from a few thousand to perhaps twenty thousand years.

These data should frighten you. All of civilization developed during the last interglacial, and the data show that such interglacials are very brief. Our time looks about up. Data such as these are what led us to state, in the Preface, that the next ice age is about to hit us, any millennium now. It does not take a detailed theory to make this prediction. We don't necessarily know why the next ice age is imminent (at least on a geological time scale), but the pattern is unmistakable.

The real reason to be frightened is that we really don't understand what causes the pattern. We don't know why the ice ages are broken by the short interglacials. We do know something – that the driving force is astronomical. We’ll describe how we know that in Chapter 2. We have models that relate the astronomical mechanisms to changes in climate, but we don't know which of our models are right, or if any of them are. We will discuss these models in some detail in this book. Much of the work of understanding lies in the future. It is a great field for a young student to enter.

Muller and MacDonald end their book's introduction noting that we'll probably see gradual rises in temperature through the middle of this century, but the historical record suggests that it is a cooling, nor a warming, that is in the Earth's future, and that the mechanisms are not understood, clearly predate human influence, and that there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

Feel free to disagree. However, as you run to higher ground, please just leave me the keys to the beach house, will you?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 12, 2008 09:19 AM

This global warming hoax is getting old!

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at August 12, 2008 11:05 AM

Last winter was an average smasher; it wiped out all the warming since the '70s. This winter will tell the tale. If you subscribe to the astronomical causes it seems the Maunder Minimum of solar activity is underway and has been for ten years. If the past is a guide, decades of steep declines in temp are in store for us and there is absolutely nothing to be done about it except turn up the heat. Interestingly, if you chart the "global cooling" scare of the disco era, you see that it peaked about ten years after the cooling maxed out. Like atmospheric CO2, it seems that climate change hysteria is a lagging indicator.

Posted by: megapotamus at August 12, 2008 01:00 PM

A century ago a Serbian scientist named Milan Milankovitch presented a concept that seems to link glacials and interglacials to variations in Earth's orbit and variations in the axis of rotation. See Milankovitch Cycles.

Unlike the “Hockey Stick” models, this theory tracks with empirical data.

Posted by: arch at August 12, 2008 01:27 PM

Merely another example why AGW skeptics are right. We won't see the coming Ice Age in our lifetimes, but rest assured it is on its way.

Posted by: Mark at August 12, 2008 01:35 PM