“Global Warming” turns 35

This is not a reference to the recent three decades of rapidly increasing global temperatures, rather it is a reference to an aniversary of the first appearance of the term “global warming” in the peer reviewed literature. The paper was by Wally Broeker and titled “Are we on the brink of a pronounced global warming?”
i-b900fc73ef4a5298b24b92fc14d6ebe8-broecker1975_small.jpg


Real Climate has an interesting post on the details of this paper. The short version is that despite numerous considerations in the paper that have played out differently than hypothesized, the overall prediction of temperature by the end of the 20th century was remarkably accurate.

In this paper, Broecker correctly predicted “that the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide”, and that “by early in the next century [carbon dioxide] will have driven the mean planetary temperature beyond the limits experienced during the last 1000 years”. He predicted an overall 20th Century global warming of 0.8ºC due to CO2 and worried about the consequences for agriculture and sea level.
[….]
To those who even today claim that global warming is not predictable, the anniversary of Broecker’s paper is a reminder that global warming was actually predicted before it became evident in the global temperature records over a decade later (when Jim Hansen in 1988 famously stated that “global warming is here”).

Not that the history started there. Check out Spencer Weart’s History of Global Warming which begins over 150 years ago when even the most hard-core conspiracy theorist will struggle to connect it to a UN quest for world domination.

So this is something to keep in mind when climate inactivists insist we need to wait and see how these “global warming predictions” will play out. We have waited. Reality since those early predictions, plus impressive successes of admitedly limited global climate models are more than enough to realize we must act now and act aggressively to avert what looks more and more likely to be a terrible toll on humanity and all life on this planet.

178 thoughts on ““Global Warming” turns 35

  1. It is my feeling that common phrases such as ‘Warm-monger’, ‘alarmist’, ‘climate coward’ and similar sobriquets are unproductive and therefore; like terms such as “denier”, “lier”, and “delusional”, are inappropriate.

    In an effort to clarify my views on Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming, and their effects on the current state and future of the planet, I wish to reach a consensus on some relevant terms and to differentiate terms such as “denier”, “skeptic”, “contrarian”, “heretic” (a person who present ideas which are contrary to popular opinion, belief, and/or the status quo of any practice or branch of knowledge. 2: a person who holds unorthodox opinions in any field [not merely religion] ), “infidel” (One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or principle.) , and secular “blasphemer”.

    denier – Definition:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/denier
    3. denier – one who denies,; a person who disputes; who is good at or enjoys controversy

    skeptic – Definition:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/skeptic
    1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.

    contrarian – Definition:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/contrarian
    a person who takes an opposing view, esp. one who rejects the majority opinion,

    heretic – Definition:
    http://www.wordiq.com/heretic

    infidel – Definition:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/infidel

    blasphemy – Definition:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blasphemy?show=0&t=1290276200
    2: irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable

    If these independent definitions are acceptable, than the term “denier” seems less than accurate in describing my position on the issues associated with our discussions as illistrated by my first and subsequent posts.

    If one deems it necessary to pronounce judgment apon me by applying a label… I humbly offer any or all of the following epithets for your consideration:
    blasphemer
    contrarian
    heretic
    infidel
    skeptic

    In further pursuit of mutual agreement I wish to propose a label that is acceptable as a descriptive of ALL our views… “Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis Advocate” (AGWA).

    To be clear… the term AGWA is self accepted only when it is not disassociated with the aforementioned epithet offerings.

    With sincere desire to achieve civil discourse and mutual understanding,
    ronnie

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  2. ronnie, I know that many people who fit the ‘denier’ tag do enjoy disputation, but that’s not the usual meaning of the word.

    The classic freudian definition just means that people faced with something unpleasant – like a cancer diagnosis, or an addiction to alcohol/ smoking, or a violent partner – will just deny the reality. (He didn’t mean it – he really loves me, I can stop whenever I want to, doctors are often wrong.) This meaning is also incorporated into the 5 stages of grief, denial being the first stage. (Anger being the second.)

    You can be disputatious without being a denier, and you can be a denier without being disputatious.

    Denier in this context just means someone who really, truly does n.o.t want to acknowledge reality. Such people will stubbornly, or even wildly, search for any excuse, no matter how feeble, to reinforce the view they want to maintain.

    When Mark Twain said “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt” the issue of global warming (and a dozen other modern issues) were not on the table.

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  3. Dear adelady,
    Yes, that is one of many definitions.
    One that seems to be applicable to some people on both sides of the AGW debate.
    -ronnie

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  4. ronnie

    I wouldn’t use the word ‘denier’ to describe someone who is on the ‘pro’ side of the AGW debate. Because they are not really ‘denying’ the facts of AGW as we know them.

    However, among the AGWAs (as you describe them), there are many different opinions as to the extent of the problem. At one end of the spectrum are those who think it isn’t a problem at all. This includes people like Richard Lindzen, who think that any changes will be minor. I wouldn’t call these people deniers, and it may turn out that they will be right (I disagree with them, but I think it is an important part of the debate). You can call them ‘mildists’ (yeah, its a crap name, but the best I could think of while typing this).

    Then there are those who think that it doesn’t matter how much the climate may change, things like warmer temperatures and increased CO2 are actually good things. These are closer to being deniers (and probably should go into that group), because they don’t really have any evidence to support what they are saying – it is more or less (IMO) just people who realise the evidence of change is overwhelming and it is stupid to deny it, but they can deny an uncomfortable ‘reality’.

    If you want to discuss semantics and definitions, then you might want to include the word ‘alarmist’ for those who think we are all going to drown under rising sea levels etc some time in the next few years (I don’t count myself one of those – but I am willing to accept they may be right and I may be wrong, just like the ‘mildists’ may also be right).

    I put myself in the ‘moderatists’ camp (yeah another crap name). I think that there will be moderate change, but this coupled with my personal knowledge of the ecosystem leads me to believe there will be disasterous consequences (does that make me an ‘alarmist’?). Not through mechanisms like rising sea levels, but through wholesale extinctions of threatened species, trophic collapse and major impacts on the environmental systems that we rely on for support.

    What I am suggesting to you is that the time for debating whether or not climate change is occuring has long past, as is the debate over whether or not there will be harmful consequences. There WILL be some, and its about time we started to develop mitigation strategies before it is too late.

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  5. Hej mandas,

    mandas154 wrote:
    ronnie,

    “I wouldn’t use the word ‘denier’ to describe someone who is on the ‘pro’ side of the AGW debate. Because they are not really ‘denying’ the facts of AGW as we know them”.

    Agreed… As one who does not dispute the “facts” and am a proponent of AGW (after all, I live in Minnesota) “denier” would an inappropriate label.

    So what label best suits me?

    When it comes to my perspective concerning the ‘evidence’ of AGW and it’s projected effects versus that of popular opinion, there is a clear divergence of interpretation. Since my conclusions (as some on this thread have often pointed out) are unorthodox and contrary to the status quo, then, I believe ‘heretic’ is the mantle most fitting.

    mandas154 wrote:
    “However, among the AGWAs (as you describe them), there are many different opinions as to the extent of the problem. At one end of the spectrum are those who think it isn’t a problem at all. This includes people like Richard Lindzen, who think that any changes will be minor. I wouldn’t call these people deniers, and it may turn out that they will be right (I disagree with them, but I think it is an important part of the debate). You can call them ‘mildists’ (yeah, its a crap name, but the best I could think of while typing this).”

    Since this guy does not subscribe to the principle of a CO2 Caused Climate Crisis, perhaps “infidel” (One who doubts or rejects a particular doctrine, system, or principle.) is an appropriate label for Mr. Lindzen.

    mandas154 wrote:
    “Then there are those who think that it doesn’t matter how much the climate may change, things like warmer temperatures and increased CO2 are actually good things. These are closer to being deniers (and probably should go into that group), because they don’t really have any evidence to support what they are saying – it is more or less (IMO) just people who realise the evidence of change is overwhelming and it is stupid to deny it, but they can deny an uncomfortable ‘reality’.

    How about secular “blasphemer”… it is more accurate than ‘denier’ when referring to a prediction that “the climate may change”. After all… how can any one ‘deny’ a prognostication.

    mandas154 wrote:
    “If you want to discuss semantics and definitions, then you might want to include the word ‘alarmist’ for those who think we are all going to drown under rising sea levels etc some time…”

    Personally, I find the word ‘alarmist’ to be pejorative and unproductive, though if such epithets are requested then my preference would be ‘climate coward’ or ‘CO2 Psycho’.

    mandas154 wrote:
    “I put myself in the ‘moderatists’ camp (yeah another crap name). I think that there will be moderate change, but this coupled with my personal knowledge of the ecosystem leads me to believe there will be disasterous consequences (does that make me an ‘alarmist’?). Not through mechanisms like rising sea levels, but through wholesale extinctions of threatened species, trophic collapse and major impacts on the environmental systems that we rely on for support.”

    Yes, that is a popular opinion among those who wish to deliberatively manipulate the climate.

    mandas154 wrote:
    “What I am suggesting to you is that the time for debating whether or not climate change is occuring has long past, as is the debate over whether or not there will be harmful consequences.”

    An interesting suggestion.

    Regarding Climate Change… though you are a relative newbie to this particular thread http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2010/07/global_warming_turns_35.php
    it still seems odd that this issue of CC is being raised again and again. Since the very first comment, inclusive, there has been no such CC debate. That debate is moot.

    As for the harmful consequences… your second paragraph explicitly states that… “among the AGWAs (as you describe them), there are many different opinions as to the extent of the problem. At one end of the spectrum are those who think it isn’t a problem at all.”
    …based on that premise, it seems that such an issue is still open to reasonable debate.

    Resolving to close the debate and summarily rule for action when there are so many differing opinions appears premature.

    mandas154 wrote:
    There WILL be some [harmful consequences], and its about time we started to develop mitigation strategies before it is too late.

    Well, yes Climate Change will have some harmful consequences. It always has and it always will.
    And concurrently, Global Warming will have benefits. It always has and it always will.

    “…before it is too late.” (???)
    sounds alarming!!;>)

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    -ronnie

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  6. “And concurrently, Global Warming will have benefits. It always has and it always will.”

    Hmm. Tell that to the Woolly Mammoth.

    Of course, you probably don’t care about the death of humanity, so I guess that you consider it a benefit if we’d died off.

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  7. “why temperatures have been flat for a decade”

    Yes, despite a very low level of activity from the sun, temperatures have risen somewhat anyway because of the overwhelming accumulated effect of CO2 rises from human causes.

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  8. I admit I Googled “spruke”.

    The closest I found was:

    spruik — vb

    archaic , slang ( Austral ) ( intr ) to speak in public (used esp of a showman or salesman)

    I figured this is what you meant, Mandas. Divested of all identifying demarcations other than “Australian slang”, I would have thought “spruke” involved a crime against nature involving sheep.

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  9. Dan (and for anyone else listening to him), reading the paper says that over that time period (up until 2005), he had figured 40% from sunspot activity. That leaves 60% for everything else.

    He then states that the sea contributes 40%, but since H2O doesn’t actually cause an exothermic reaction, where does that heat come from?

    That’s where he falls over.

    Hard.

    Of course, you could go to Tamino’s site and read what he got when he removed the trends of ENSO/PDO/et al and checked the record against the log of CO2 concentrations.

    Or look at BPL’s post on the correlation of temperature with CO2:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Correlation.html

    And, after all, since this “unpaid” Mech Eng merely used correlation to prove the causation, you can’t really complain about this one, and this comes with the numbers you can verify yourself.

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  10. skip

    I did not realise that ‘spruik’ was an Australian slang term – I thought it was a normal word used in every english speaking country. You know – a ‘spruiker’ is someone who, amongst other things, stands outside an event and tries to encourage people to go inside by talking up the event – such as a carnival spruiker. And thanks for correcting my spelling. Do you really miss snowman that much that you are morphing into him?

    wow

    If you want to know a little more about Dan’s modus operandi, scroll up to the discussion earlier in this thread.

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  11. Hey Dan!

    How did you go with that paper that you said was ‘in review’ last August? I guess it has been published in a journal by now. Could you provide us with a link please?

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  12. Wow,

    There is a pretty good chance that some other readers of this blog may actually be interested in climate.

    My work is all described in detail as to method, data sources, and results. It is all available on line. It can be processed on a desktop computer. The results are presented as graphs. Anyone can check it.

    I am unpaid (just curious) and have no axe to grind except to avoid the waste that will occur with any effort to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide with intent to reduce Global Warming or Climate Change.

    I recently did a check of my findings. Using measured data until 1990 to determine the coefficients in the equation, the equation was then used to predict the temperature trends from 1990 through 2010. This prediction was then compared to the measured temperatures for that period. The predicted trends are an excellent match to the measured trends including the flat temperatures for the last decade.

    This equation calculates temperatures since 1895 with 88% accuracy and predicts that the future average global temperature trend is about -0.13°C per decade (that means down) in spite of the expected increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. The downtrend can be as much as -0.22°C per decade if the sun goes really quiet.

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  13. …..and have no axe to grind except to avoid the waste that will occur with any effort to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide with intent to reduce Global Warming or Climate Change….”

    You would be harder pressed to find a more hypocritical statement that this. If you have ‘no axe to grind’, why are you inventing a conclusion that is ideological, and totally at odds with all the available evidence?

    Why don’t you just stop acting like an ideological fool and accept that scientists who have been studying and warning about this problem for decades know more about it than you – an admitted amateur who has done no study, who is basing his whole hypothesis on something that has been discredited multiple times, and who’s total approach to climatology is ideological and not based on evidence?

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  14. “There is a pretty good chance that some other readers of this blog may actually be interested in climate.”

    Yup, that’s true. But why then are you trying to misinform them?

    “My work is all described in detail as to method, data sources, and results.”

    So is the IPCC report, but you insist that is wrong. Why is it that you are right when so many others are wrong?

    Worse, your blogroll entry is not peer reviewed, at best pal reviewed.

    “have no axe to grind except to avoid the waste that will occur with any effort to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide with intent to reduce Global Warming or Climate Change.”

    Well, that’s an axe to grind, isn’t it.

    You’ve decided what you want and you’re looking to find out what will prove your point.

    This is not science.

    It’s not even a coherent desire: you aren’t saying that AGW is wrong but that you are against the waste in doing anything about it. Yet you don’t care about any waste of doing nothing about it, nor the waste you’re putting in to a delaying action.

    “This equation calculates temperatures since 1895 with 88% accuracy”

    Yes, curve fitting will do this. Except that you’re applying that data to the data you made your equation to fit. This means there is no predictive power shown.

    “and predicts that the future average global temperature trend is about -0.13°C per decade (that means down)”

    But as said earlier, the predictive power of a curve fit doesn’t exist. And what are your errors and your confidence in that? After all, if it doesn’t go down but goes up instead, at what point is your prediction proven wrong? When it’s gone up by another 0.03C? When it hasn’t gone down for three years?

    “The downtrend can be as much as -0.22°C per decade if the sun goes really quiet.”

    It’s already coming out of a minimum. A very deep minimum. So what point is it called “really quiet”?

    And that fact also demonstrates your lack of predictive ability: sunspots at the last minimum saw temperatures 0.7 or more degrees cooler. If sunspots drive temperature, then you’d have to be including an increasing trend that doesn’t rely on the sunspot numbers.

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  15. The pdf made public 9/24/11 at the CR site shows the excellent match of the predicted temperature trajectory since 1990 with actual measured temperatures. It also shows what the temperature trajectory would look like with the IPCC claim that CO2 is the main driver.

    Average global temperatures are explained by ESST and the time-integral of sunspot numbers.

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  16. “The pdf made public 9/24/11 at the CR site shows the excellent match of the predicted temperature trajectory since 1990 with actual measured temperatures.”

    And the error bars?.

    “It also shows what the temperature trajectory would look like with the IPCC claim that CO2 is the main driver.”

    Except it doesn’t.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-temperature-correlation.htm

    “Average global temperatures are explained by ESST and the time-integral of sunspot numbers.”

    Please explain what “time integral of sunspot numbers” mean. Because that means “the sum of all sunspots we have to date” which is ridiculous.

    Like

  17. Wow,
    You gave an irrelevant website when it would have been so easy to Google the issue and find a relevant one. IPCC shows about 0.1C temperature increase since 2000 because of CO2 increase and the equation also calculates about 0.1C if only CO2 change matters. So my statement is correct, your statement “Except it doesn’t.” is wrong and the website that you name is irrelevant.

    If you had looked at the equation (it is given in the pdf made public 3/10/11) you would see that the time-integral of sunspot numbers is appropriately reduced by the time-integral of the energy being radiated from the planet. The fact that the equation accurately calculates measured temperatures since 1895 should have made that particular instruction unnecessary.

    Look at the last graph in the pdf made public 9/24/11 to see the sharp drop that occurred after the El Nino peaked in March, 2010. The graph that you gave the link to misleadingly implies an impossibly rapid ocean temperature rise and an uptrend when a down trend had started.

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  18. Dan: Do you run your screeds past anyone knowledgeable in the subject before you make them public (as a pdf) in order to catch some of the more obvious errors in your maths & logic?

    Or do you think that posting unsupportable guff is actually providing some sort of service?

    Like

  19. “IPCC shows about 0.1C temperature increase since 2000 because of CO2 increase and the equation also calculates about 0.1C if only CO2 change matters”

    Ah, so you’ll be able to show this, yes?

    Now, on to your fantasy: what temperature does your graph give for the Medieval Warming Period? What temperature does your graph give for the Triassic period? Permian?

    If, instead you try to match the temperature graph by changing the sunspots, when you need negative sunspots, what does that mean, physically, for our sun?

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  20. “the time-integral of sunspot numbers is appropriately reduced by the time-integral of the energy being radiated from the planet.”

    OK, so the time-integral of the energy means what? The earth doesn’t radiate on its own. Ask Pluto. And it doesn’t depend on sunspots. There is no mechanism for it to happen.

    So your fantasy requires that the earth radiate a different amount depending on sunspots and that the current state of the earth is the sum of all previous radiation.

    That means that we get to a planet that is only about 6000 years old…

    Like

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