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Re: Climate Change (again!)

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  • Re: Climate Change (again!)

    What do you think of this video?

    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

  • #2
    It is a nice attempt at communicating some basic science relating to climate, giving good information for 13 confusions, misconceptions, distortions or errors that are widely repeated on the internet.

    There's no one best method, IMO, to deal with these kinds of misconceptions. The video might be helpful for some; and probably will not be convincing to others.

    The interesting issues for me are about ways to communicate good information. The matter of whether or not the video actually provides good information is much much simpler. Yes, it does; absolutely. The blue shirt guy is giving very basic and totally uncontroversial good information which would be a good start for getting basic literacy on what we know about climate change for our warming world.

    Comment


    • #3
      Um, what audience is it supposed to reach?

      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

      My Personal Blog

      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
        Um, what audience is it supposed to reach?
        My guess: people who are not knowledgeable or committed on the subject; but who see all the internet argument going on and don't know what to think.

        I suspect most people have some predispositions in sorting out subjects with which they are not familiar. By and large, most folks:
        • Presume (in general) that a major field of academic study or science is not going to be riddled through and through with fraud or incompetence.
        • Presume (in general) that confident assertions of fact used as the premise of an argument actually are true.
        • Presume (in general) that most people talk about subjects in good faith.

        These presumptions can conflict with each other at times; the video is good in that it does not slip into personal attacks but goes straight to a focus on the substance, with information that is readily checked.

        I'm going to summarize the points made.
        1. The terms "global warming" and "climate change" are both correct, and have both been used for a long time. The planet as a whole is heating up, but not uniformly, and as a result climate is changing in many ways around the planet as patterns are shifting in response to the additional heat overall.
        2. Yes, the planet is warming.
        3. For the last fifty years and more; ever since the beginning of quantified study of global climate, science has indicated that atmospheric changes are likely to heat up the planet. This indication has indeed now been confirmed. In early days (about forty years ago) a minority of working scientists raised legitimate concerns about possible global cooling. That has always been a minority position, and it fairly quickly fell by the wayside as measurement and theory developed. (Really. The papers and research are all on record. The global cooling concerns of the 1970s -- though perfectly serious science at the time -- were always very much in the minority.)
        4. Yes, the planet is warming.
        5. Arctic sea ice is declining. There can be short periods (very short periods, like two or three years!) where there's a brief recovery, but the trend is a very strong downward spiral.
        6. In recent decades, when global warming has taken off strongly, the Sun has been getting very slightly dimmer, not brighter. The Sun is definitely not the cause of global warming.
        7. Humans are the cause of increasing CO2 levels. Natural exchange between atmosphere and ocean have larger magnitudes, but they cancel. (Or, to put it another way, not explicit in the video: carbon cycles around the atmosphere, the ocean and the biosphere, with very large seasonal exchanges of carbon moving between those stores of carbon. Humans are adding carbon into that overall cycle, and no other process even comes close in terms of magnitude of adding carbon to the overall cycle. The result is a very rapid increase in carbon in the ocean AND the atmosphere, in particular. The "Keeling curve" of measured CO2 in the atmosphere shows how this works:
          Keeling.JPG
          Every year huge amounts of carbon move in and out of the atmosphere in a regular cycle, so the curve looks like a wave, going up and down every year, rising by more than 5ppm in NH winter, and falling about the same amount in NH summer. Every year there's also an addition of new carbon, so the whole cycle keeps moving steadily upwards by about 1.5 to 2 ppm per year. This increase is roughly half of what humans are adding; the other half is getting flushed into the ocean. We also measure a steady change in the isotopes of carbon, showing that yes, the increase is from carbon coming from fossil fuels.
        8. Volcanoes are not even close to human output for magnitude of CO2 change. They emit a fraction of a percent of what humans are emitting; claims to the contrary are just wrong.
        9. Water in the atmosphere is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. The only way to increase water in the atmosphere is to increase temperatures, because warm air holds more water. Water thus works to amplify any effect that heats or cools the atmosphere. It's a positive feedback on warming that is being driven mainly by increasing CO2 levels.
        10. Predictions of temperature change are actually quite a good match with what is being measured. (I'd quibble with how this is explained in the video, but the main point holds. Rates of warming really are pretty close to what is expected; and so too are the magnitudes of shorter term natural variability.)
        11. Climate can change for many reasons. (The video cites Milankovitch cycles; that's a major one over the last couple of million years.) At the moment, humans are the major cause of change at work.
        12. Ice ages and the end of ice ages are triggered by Milankovitch cycles. CO2 increase(conversely decrease) comes from the ocean in response to warming (conversely cooling) temperatures, and this amplifies the effect. So ice ages are not actually driven by CO2, but CO2 has a major effect in how much climate changes. (I'd have explained this a bit differently, myself. There's more involved than solubility. But as a starter the video is okay.)
        13. The consequences leading on from global warming are going to be mostly problems -- expensive ones. Minimizing the magnitude of change is the cost-effective choice.


        I'm sure there will be people here who would like to argue one or more of these points. I'm not sure how much that achieves; though I do put my oar in on the topic from time to time. Honestly, the video is giving pretty solid information that is relatively easy to back up when you chase the specifics. There are a couple of points I'd rephrase a little; but nothing that would give any comfort to the sunglasses guy.

        I don't think the video will work with people who are already (so-called) "climate skeptics"; but it's a pretty good summary of the basic science based reply to several commonly repeated misconceptions, useful for those who simply want to know what the scientific response is to the claims from sunglasses guy.

        Cheers -- sylas

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by sylas View Post
          I don't think the video will work with people who are already (so-called) "climate skeptics" [...]
          This was published about a week ago, under a slightly different headline:

          Verbal Warming: Labels in the Climate Debate
          The words are hurled around like epithets.

          People who reject the findings of climate science are dismissed as “deniers” and “disinformers.” Those who accept the science are attacked as “alarmists” or “warmistas. “ The second term, evoking the Sandinista revolutionaries of Nicaragua, is perhaps meant to suggest that the science is part of some socialist plot.

          In the long-running political battles over climate change, the fight about what to call the various factions has been going on for a long time. Recently, though, the issue has taken a turn, with a public appeal that has garnered 22,000 signatures and counting.

          The petition asks the news media to abandon the most frequently used term for people who question climate science, “skeptics,” and call them “climate deniers” instead.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by sylas View Post
            My guess: people who are not knowledgeable or committed on the subject; but who see all the internet argument going on and don't know what to think.
            Cool, thanks.
            Originally posted by Sylas
            I suspect most people have some predispositions in sorting out subjects with which they are not familiar. By and large, most folks:
            • Presume (in general) that a major field of academic study or science is not going to be riddled through and through with fraud or incompetence.
            • Presume (in general) that confident assertions of fact used as the premise of an argument actually are true.
            • Presume (in general) that most people talk about subjects in good faith.

            These presumptions can conflict with each other at times; the video is good in that it does not slip into personal attacks but goes straight to a focus on the substance, with information that is readily checked.

            I'm going to summarize the points made.
            1. The terms "global warming" and "climate change" are both correct, and have both been used for a long time. The planet as a whole is heating up, but not uniformly, and as a result climate is changing in many ways around the planet as patterns are shifting in response to the additional heat overall.
            2. Yes, the planet is warming.
            3. For the last fifty years and more; ever since the beginning of quantified study of global climate, science has indicated that atmospheric changes are likely to heat up the planet. This indication has indeed now been confirmed. In early days (about forty years ago) a minority of working scientists raised legitimate concerns about possible global cooling. That has always been a minority position, and it fairly quickly fell by the wayside as measurement and theory developed. (Really. The papers and research are all on record. The global cooling concerns of the 1970s -- though perfectly serious science at the time -- were always very much in the minority.)
            4. Yes, the planet is warming.
            5. Arctic sea ice is declining. There can be short periods (very short periods, like two or three years!) where there's a brief recovery, but the trend is a very strong downward spiral.
            6. In recent decades, when global warming has taken off strongly, the Sun has been getting very slightly dimmer, not brighter. The Sun is definitely not the cause of global warming.
            7. Humans are the cause of increasing CO2 levels. Natural exchange between atmosphere and ocean have larger magnitudes, but they cancel. (Or, to put it another way, not explicit in the video: carbon cycles around the atmosphere, the ocean and the biosphere, with very large seasonal exchanges of carbon moving between those stores of carbon. Humans are adding carbon into that overall cycle, and no other process even comes close in terms of magnitude of adding carbon to the overall cycle. The result is a very rapid increase in carbon in the ocean AND the atmosphere, in particular. The "Keeling curve" of measured CO2 in the atmosphere shows how this works:
              [ATTACH=CONFIG]4061[/ATTACH]
              Every year huge amounts of carbon move in and out of the atmosphere in a regular cycle, so the curve looks like a wave, going up and down every year, rising by more than 5ppm in NH winter, and falling about the same amount in NH summer. Every year there's also an addition of new carbon, so the whole cycle keeps moving steadily upwards by about 1.5 to 2 ppm per year. This increase is roughly half of what humans are adding; the other half is getting flushed into the ocean. We also measure a steady change in the isotopes of carbon, showing that yes, the increase is from carbon coming from fossil fuels.
            8. Volcanoes are not even close to human output for magnitude of CO2 change. They emit a fraction of a percent of what humans are emitting; claims to the contrary are just wrong.
            9. Water in the atmosphere is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect. The only way to increase water in the atmosphere is to increase temperatures, because warm air holds more water. Water thus works to amplify any effect that heats or cools the atmosphere. It's a positive feedback on warming that is being driven mainly by increasing CO2 levels.
            10. Predictions of temperature change are actually quite a good match with what is being measured. (I'd quibble with how this is explained in the video, but the main point holds. Rates of warming really are pretty close to what is expected; and so too are the magnitudes of shorter term natural variability.)
            11. Climate can change for many reasons. (The video cites Milankovitch cycles; that's a major one over the last couple of million years.) At the moment, humans are the major cause of change at work.
            12. Ice ages and the end of ice ages are triggered by Milankovitch cycles. CO2 increase(conversely decrease) comes from the ocean in response to warming (conversely cooling) temperatures, and this amplifies the effect. So ice ages are not actually driven by CO2, but CO2 has a major effect in how much climate changes. (I'd have explained this a bit differently, myself. There's more involved than solubility. But as a starter the video is okay.)
            13. The consequences leading on from global warming are going to be mostly problems -- expensive ones. Minimizing the magnitude of change is the cost-effective choice.


            I'm sure there will be people here who would like to argue one or more of these points. I'm not sure how much that achieves; though I do put my oar in on the topic from time to time. Honestly, the video is giving pretty solid information that is relatively easy to back up when you chase the specifics. There are a couple of points I'd rephrase a little; but nothing that would give any comfort to the sunglasses guy.

            I don't think the video will work with people who are already (so-called) "climate skeptics"; but it's a pretty good summary of the basic science based reply to several commonly repeated misconceptions, useful for those who simply want to know what the scientific response is to the claims from sunglasses guy.

            Cheers -- sylas
            Okay, thanks.

            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

            My Personal Blog

            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

            Comment

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