The Medieval Warm Period & the Hockey Stick reexamined
Posted: 19 October 2010 09:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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From your friends at Skeptical Science
 

Tuesday, 19 October, 2010
Do critics of the hockey stick realize what they’re arguing for?

The hockey stick, a reconstruction of temperature over the last 1000 or so years, is a much maligned graph. Critics of the hockey stick insist it underestimates past climate change. In particular, many insist that temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period were warmer than now. The next logical leap is that if past natural climate change is comparable to today, then current climate change must also also natural. The irony of this line of thinking is that if the Medieval Warm Period did turn out to be much warmer than currently thought, this doesn’t prove that humans aren’t causing global warming. On the contrary, it would mean the danger from man-made global warming is greater than expected.

For main body of text click http://www.skepticalscience.com/Do-critics-of-the-hockey-stick-realise-what-theyre-arguing-for.html

Can you now see the irony in insisting on a warmer Medieval Warm Period? If for some reason, temperatures over the Medieval Warm Period turn out to be warmer than previously thought, this means climate sensitivity is actually greater than 3°C. The climate response to CO2 forcing will be even greater than expected. So to argue for a warmer Medieval Warm Period is to argue for greater climate sensitivity and greater future warming due to human CO2 emissions.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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If the CO2 demon is not dead yet , it will be soon.

It would seem to me that during certain periods in earth geology there would have had to be vastly more CO2 in the air than today with no detrimental effects to life….plants were huge and so were insects and other life forms….indicates 2 things to me… lots of CO2 for the plants and high O2 content for the animals.

What we are trying to accomplish by messing with nature(artificially altering climate and weather patterns) is preserving the coastal lowlands where most of humanity resides. The more we try to interfere the more nature will react to our detriment.

I agree that we pollute too much, abuse energy resources and consume everything at alarming rates but that is a separate issue from cyclical climate dynamics.

There is no simple solution but it seems to me that ceasing deforestation of the rainforests both temperate and tropical and the boreal forests of the sub polar regions is a good start.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Mark0751 - 07 December 2010 06:21 AM

If the CO2 demon is not dead yet , it will be soon.

It would seem to me that during certain periods in earth geology there would have had to be vastly more CO2 in the air than today with no detrimental effects to life….plants were huge and so were insects and other life forms….indicates 2 things to me… lots of CO2 for the plants and high O2 content for the animals.

While this may be true, this does not mean that if atmospheric CO2 was higher in the past, it wasn’t also very bad.  The problem with CO2 in the air today isn’t really the flat numbers, but the geologically quick rate that it is changing today.  Think of how massive of an extended volcanic erutpion would be required to raise the CO2 concentrations the way they are being raised today, and look in history at when such eruptions happened.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_basalt

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Posted: 07 December 2010 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Andrew

The last of my concern would be CO2 levels during a volcanic eruption…sulpher dioxide and vast plumes of particulates would cause more damage. Basically what my pov is ...it is not CO2 that is culprit ...and it never was.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Mark, I agree that there have been times in the past when CO2 levels were far higher than they are now, and animals and plants thrived in the much warmer, more humid environment.  However, the point being made isn’t that the CO2 will damage the environment.  Rather that many of the animals and plants today will not be able to adapt to their locally changed environment and will die off.  Over a few thousand years those who can adapt or change to adapt will take over.  This has happened a number of times with different postulated causes such as asteroid impact, major voolcanic eruptions, etc. 

The major problems AGW poses are that the climate patterns will change.  Possibly Canada will become far warmer and able to grow crops while areas closer to the equator may become too warm and dry to grow crops.  This would be fine if the human population could go into hibernation for a few centuries while farms moved to more amenable areas.  However, we have this need to eat every day or two.  We can’t wait a few years, so there will be a great many deaths because of famine and most likely wars attempting to get supplies or to protect supplies.

Occam

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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We can’t wait a few years, so there will be a great many deaths because of famine and most likely wars attempting to get supplies or to protect supplies.

And how would that be any different than now?

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Instead of most watching while each group takes turns, everyone will be doing it at the same time.

Occam

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Well good.  I hate standing in line for my turn.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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And while you are using your machine gun to defend yourself, you have to look at your longer term needs.  You’ll probably have your own vegetable plot and to assure good crops you’ll need fertilizer so don’t just walk away from those dead usurpers, compost them for later use.  vampire

Occam

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well duh.  That’s a no brainer.  They’re also good for a quick protein boost.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Occam. - 07 December 2010 03:17 PM

Mark, I agree that there have been times in the past when CO2 levels were far higher than they are now, and animals and plants thrived in the much warmer, more humid environment.  However, the point being made isn’t that the CO2 will damage the environment.  Rather that many of the animals and plants today will not be able to adapt to their locally changed environment and will die off.  Over a few thousand years those who can adapt or change to adapt will take over.  This has happened a number of times with different postulated causes such as asteroid impact, major voolcanic eruptions, etc. 

The major problems AGW poses are that the climate patterns will change.  Possibly Canada will become far warmer and able to grow crops while areas closer to the equator may become too warm and dry to grow crops.  This would be fine if the human population could go into hibernation for a few centuries while farms moved to more amenable areas.  However, we have this need to eat every day or two.  We can’t wait a few years, so there will be a great many deaths because of famine and most likely wars attempting to get supplies or to protect supplies.

Occam

Occam…...nice handle by the way…how’s your razor?


Can’t take issue with much of what you write.

The migrations have been happening for 500 years ...Yes expect war and famine and disruption of all sorts…...inevitable result of the planet’s evolution. 

The 90’s weren’t kind to the Canadian wheat belt but now they are booming again…what’s that about the 4th cycle in 100 yrs.

Capitalism seems boom bust and the weather/climate seems to do the same.

A sanguine approach perhaps

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Posted: 07 December 2010 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree that our species has lived through many cycles or say, catastrophes, but the extent of the damage depends on how severe, how fast, and how widespread the the change is.  I think we can agree that AGW will happen relatively rapidly compared to most ecological changes, and it will probably be worldwide.  The main area of uncertainty is how severe it wiil be.  I think the deniers are wrong, but I’m much less certain about the level of damage it will do.  My own feelings from my reading are that it will be major, but I don’t have enough evidence to be dogmatic about it.

Occam

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Posted: 07 December 2010 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Fast geologicaly speaking is far more than the less than 100 yrs some climate doomsdayers are predicting.
Given the past climate events of ice ages, massive volcanic activity and the cyclical desertification of North Africa to mention a few, my guess is we have time to change our ways to a cleaner less intrusive way of managing our progress. Unfortunately we lack the will socially and politically to do what we know needs doing- using less and sharing far more of wealth with the rest of planet’s humans and stopping the waste of the war machines.

Alas, my hope exceeds my expectation of the real future…I do believe we will screw it up and MAD is not out of the question.

The parameter shift keeps getting blocked by fearmongering promoted by the big powers- mostly in the USA and Britain.

The emerging nations, thankfully, are flexing some muscle in regards to the Middle East despite threats from the 1st world. If Brazil and most of Latin America ever really wake up they will know that they don’t need the rest of the world in order to prosper. Food production capacity, fresh water and energy -they have more than they need.

Forgive my meandering but I can’t see any concerted effort towards a global climate policy as long as the social and economical inequities continue to grow.

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Posted: 07 December 2010 11:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Nice post (#4) Occam especially the line: “This would be fine if the human population could go into hibernation for a few centuries while farms moved to more amenable areas.”

Mark0751 - 07 December 2010 06:21 AM

If the CO2 demon is not dead yet , it will be soon.

Where in the world does that wild claim come from? 

Dead Monky - 07 December 2010 03:18 PM

We can’t wait a few years, so there will be a great many deaths because of famine and most likely wars attempting to get supplies or to protect supplies.

And how would that be any different than now?

it’ll be getting much closer to home   downer

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Posted: 14 December 2010 08:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I don’t know all the science behind either viewpoint regarding the climate. But what’s up with the change in the last few years from “Global Warming” (and THAT being the focus of the issue) to “Climate Change”?  Did they not think regular people would notice? 

When I was a kid, it was all about the “Greenhouse Effect” and Global Cooling, then Global Warming, now “climate change”.  Also, why won’t Al Gore debate anyone on the topic? He’s flown around the world, made millions, written a book, put out a movie…why won’t he take the stage and lay out his case with direct, and present rebuttal?

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Posted: 14 December 2010 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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UlsterScots432 - 14 December 2010 08:59 PM

When I was a kid, it was all about the “Greenhouse Effect” and Global Cooling, then Global Warming, now “climate change”. 

It is all the same. 
Re. the “change.”  Two big reasons… many people where/are fixated on the air temp… and global warming seemed too abstract to grasp.  Then way back before the AGWHoaxer campaign revved up some Republican consultant suggested Global Change to soften the implication of Global Warming.  Within a thunderclap everyone adopted the both kinder gentler sounding, but also physically accurate Climate Change - Climate Disruption never did catch on in the media, I think it struck too close to home. 

As for Global Cooling hype - the thing those sensationalistic articles were missing was that the Global Cooling conjectures were based on sun and orbital cycles along with comparisons to past history.  Interestingly the papers did point out that their’s was an “all things being equal” scenario.  Whereas in modern times we where adding so much anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere that it would quite probably swamp this natural cycle.  The authors concerns were actually about the increasing CO2 in the atmosphere. {instead of ridiculing their studies, they should be scaring the poop outta us!}

As for the cold winters during Global Warming part, remember our globe includes our oceans and cryosphere and they have been shown to be absorbing great quantities of heat. 

Our planet is a heat engine distributing energy, heat and moisture.  It has many factors acting on it, including a lessening solar/orbital input {that global cooling a few 70’s papers eluded to}, however increasing CO2 has changed our atmosphere’s thermo absorption properties.  One effect has been our jet stream has migrated northward, closer to the cold arctic.  All this will bring more chaotic weather, including colder winters in some regions.

It is simple physics and all the faith-based wishful thinking won’t change a bit of it.
Hang on ~ the ride will keep getting rougher.

~ ~ ~
By the way, Al Gore has nothing to do with trying to understand climate science, he is a strawman placed there to distract from what we should be paying attention to, the science not the media spin!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Further reading:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422095549.htm
UK May Experience More Cold Winters

ScienceDaily (Apr. 22, 2010) — New research from the University of Reading suggests the UK may experience more cold winters in future when the Sun is at a lower level of activity.

The paper published in IOP Publishing’s Environmental Research Letters, says the cold weather trends during lower solar activity are consistent with solar influence on blocking events in the Eastern Atlantic. Blocking occurs when the warm jet stream from the west on its way to Northern Europe is blocked allowing north-easterly winds to arrive from the Arctic. Blocking episodes can persist for several weeks, leading to extended cold periods in winter.

http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2501
posted: 2009-06-18
CO2 Higher Today Than Last 2.1 Million Years
Study Offers Detailed Look at Past Greenhouse Gas Levels

Researchers have reconstructed atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past 2.1 million years in the sharpest detail yet, shedding new light on its role in the earth’s cycles of cooling and warming.

The study, in the June 19 issue of the journal Science, is the latest to rule out a drop in CO2 as the cause for earth’s ice ages growing longer and more intense some 850,000 years ago. But it also confirms many researchers’ suspicion that higher carbon dioxide levels coincided with warmer intervals during the study period.

http://carnegiescience.edu/news/changing_jet_streams_may_alter_paths_storms_and_hurricanes
Changing Jet Streams May Alter Paths of Storms and Hurricanes
Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stanford, CA—The Earth’s jet streams, the high-altitude bands of fast winds that strongly influence the paths of storms and other weather systems, are shifting—possibly in response to global warming. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution determined that over a 23-year span from 1979 to 2001 the jet streams in both hemispheres have risen in altitude and shifted toward the poles. The jet stream in the northern hemisphere has also weakened. These changes fit the predictions of global warming models and have implications for the frequency and intensity of future storms, including hurricanes.

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