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Lars Hagen
Aug 2007
[email protected]
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This Power Point Presentation Encourages
Critical Thinking about the Causes and Magnitude
of Global Warming and Climate Change
Key Components of Critical Thinking are based on
Comparisons and Conflicts and Trade-offs
Single Thoughts and Views Discourage Critical
Thinking and Intellectual Development and are
Contrary to Creative Thought and Discussion
Lars Hagen
Let’s think about Global Warming
with an open mind!
The key item of discussion is the
cause and effect of global temperature
• Cause and effect relationships can be
difficult to determine and even more
difficult to prove
• Everyone does not share the same views
and opinions and conclusions about the
cause & effects of Global Warming
• That’s an OK thing!
• Let us celebrate diversity of thought and opinion!
Determining Cause & Effect is sometimes illusive
As a youngster growing up in maple tree country I was told
that the maple leaves turned from green to red in the fall
because of the frost. Seemed logical to me!
Later I learned that the change is caused by the SUN!
Shorter days effects the photosynthesis within the leaves,
there is reduced GREEN-chlorophyll, the leaf dies and the
remaining glucose is RED
(who could have seen that coming?)
Weather is weeks, climate is years
• Climate is a long term view of weather
• The climate of the world has always been
changing and continues to change
• Cycling from cold to hot and back again
The earth has had cold climates
• 16,000 years ago so much water was frozen
into glaciers that the Atlantic Ocean was 400
feet lower than it is today.
What ocean view?
• The US east coast extended out
approximately 50 miles to where the Hudson
River dropped off the continental shelf into
the Atlantic Ocean
Where did all the beaches go?
• Long Island NY was not an island
• The Chesapeake Bay was not a Bay
• The Outer Banks were 50 miles
from the ocean
Apparently there
Has been a lot
Of warming and
Melting long before
man made campfires!
Warm can be good! But not too warm!
• Approximately 1,000 years ago there was a
warm period that was called the Medieval
Warm Period
• During that time Europe was warm enough
for grape vineyards to grow in London.
Cold can be good! But not too cold!
• From 1400 to 1750 there was a cold period
called the “little ice age”.
• During that time Europe was much colder
than now and the Thames River in London
froze solid most winters.
Making a glacier is a big cold job
During that time many glaciers were
formed, including the Mendenhall Glacier in
The end of the “little ice age” was followed
by a warming period that continues today.
How big is our warming?
• Many people think that the earth is getting
warmer faster than they expected it to.
• There is NASA information that indicates that
the average temperature of the US has
increased approximately one degree in the
past 100 years
• There is NASA information that indicates that
the average temperature of the world has
increased approximately one degree in the
past 100 years
US: One Degree in 100 years
• -
Global: One degree in 100 years
• -
Isn’t 1/10th of one degree (0.1) small?
The climate scientists are publishing global
temperatures to a precision of 1/10th of one
Can you measure and then calculate the
average temperature inside your home for
today (24 hours) accurate to within 1/10th of
one degree?
Can you record your own average body
temperature for today (24 hours) within 1/10th
of one degree?
How do they do that?
Is precision = accuracy?
Our body temperature varies 2 deg. daily
A temperature of 98.6 is precise – but
does it accurately reflect our daily temperature?
What is the daily average temperature for this example?
Let’s hear it for the atmosphere!
• The earth gets most of its heat from the sun.
If there were no atmosphere on earth it would
be very hot during the day when the sun is
shining on the earth
Not much growing on the moon!
• It would be very cold at night as the earth
radiated heat back out into space.
• That is the situation on the moon.
There’s a diversity of stuff in the 1%
• The atmosphere serves a very important role
of controlling earth’s temperature and
therefore our climate.
• Our atmosphere is composed of
approximately 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen
and less than 1% of other gases.
• These other gases include water vapor, CO2,
methane, argon, helium, ozone and others
How can we make more clouds?
• Water vapor plays a major role in how much
heat reaches the earth and how much heat
leaves the earth.
• Water vapor as clouds acts as a large shade
keeping much of the
suns heat from reaching the
ground during the day.
• Clouds block the earth’s radiation into space
at night, helping to hold the heat in the earth.
Who invented the earth’s “greenhouse”?
• This action by water vapor and other
“greenhouse” gases in the atmosphere is
called the “greenhouse” effect.
• A greenhouse is intended to moderate and
control temperature and humidity to allow
plants to grow that otherwise could not
survive the high and low temperatures
outside the greenhouse.
Greenhouses are Cool! (In the summer)
Greenhouses are Hot! (In the winter)
They let the desired heat/light in
They keep the desired heat in
We can control temperature in a greenhouse!
But, we have never before controlled
the weather or the climate!
Carbon Dioxide is everywhere
We generate it with every breath we take
Methane uses the other exit
• Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a component of
greenhouse gas.
• CO2 is a naturally occurring gas associated
with all living things.
• There are also large amounts of CO2 in the
ground and in the oceans.
• CO2 is also man-made. It is part of the result
of burning fuels that contain carbon.
• Carbon based fuels include wood, coal, oil
and gas (things that once were alive)
Is too much of a good thing a
good thing or a bad thing?
• There are people who believe that CO2 in the
atmosphere is now playing a major role in increased
temperature of the earth.
• They further believe that man-made CO2 is causing a
major increase in temperature and that this will
greatly increase as man-made CO2 increases.
• Currently man-made CO2 is less than 5% of the total
CO2 in the atmosphere
• Total atmospheric CO2 contributes less than 5% of
the total greenhouse effect.
Water vapor accounts for 95% of the
total greenhouse effect!
Is CO2 making things hot or not?
• There is data from ice-core samples that
supports the view that historically earth’s
temperatures are high when CO2 levels in
the atmosphere are high.
• They further believe that significant amounts
of additional man-made CO2 will cause major
increases in temperature.
• And that will result in making major bad
things happen to ocean levels and food
supplies and diseases.
Temperature & CO2
There have been many big hot/cold cycles in earth’s
history long before man-made CO2.
Note the historic temperature and CO2 changes
(Does this infer a cause/effect relationship?)
The very large time scale makes it difficult to accurately
compare the details of the two curves
Note that the Temperature (red) starts falling
while the CO2 is still rising.
It’s 800 hundreds years after the temperature
starts falling before the CO2 starts falling
Isn’t that inconsistent with increasing CO2
causing increasing temperature?
Which one is the real cause & which is the effect?
The past 10,000 years without man-made CO2
“Man-made CO2 is Bad”
it’s a best seller but,
is it fact or is it fiction
or, somewhere in between
• The people who believe that man-made CO2
is a big problem are getting and have gotten
major media attention and coverage.
• These people include scientists belonging to
a UN climate committee and individuals like
Mr. Al Gore who wrote a book called “An
Inconvenient Truth” and a Power Point
Presentation that has received wide
distribution and public exposure.
How can CO2 be the cause now
when it never was before! Or, was it?
• There are people who believe that the earth
is in a 250 year warming cycle that started at
the end of the “little ice age” (approx 1750)
• They believe that this warming was well
underway before there was any significant
man-made CO2 and that this warming cycle
is part of the earth’s natural cycles.
• They believe that CO2 is not the “major
causal factor” in greenhouse gases
Why was it getting cooler?
How can CO2 be the major driver?
Can CO2 go somewhere and then come back?
• Because historically temperature dropped
hundreds of years before the CO2 dropped it
appears that changes in temperature may
actually be causing changes in atmospheric
CO2 not the other way around
• CO2 is a gas that disperses into the air
• Rising temperature can cause CO2 to move
from within the oceans into the atmosphere!
• Falling temperature can cause CO2 to
move from the atmosphere into the oceans.
Test this concept:
shake and then open a bottle of warm soda
Why did the glaciers start melting
before there was man-made CO2?
There was very little man-made CO2
before World War 1 (1918)
However, current Glaciers started melting
when the “little ice age” ended in 1750
If man-made CO2 didn’t cause these glaciers to
melt – what did?
For sure it was something, and it wasn’t us!
Why did the Mendenhall Glacier retreat?
Note the amount of glacier retreat (melting) before
There is significant CO2 from the Industrial Revolution
Do changes in solar energy matter?
• There are people who believe that the sun
sends energy into space that is not constant
or uniform and that this solar energy has a
major effect on cloud formation and
therefore a major effect on the earths
• There were very few “sun spots” during the
little ice age when our climate was cold.
• There have been significant “sun spots”
during times of climate warming
• There have been significant “sun spots”
during the past 30 years
The study of global warming and Glacier
melting is not new, it has been
going on for a very long time
Galileo studied and documented solar
activity with his telescopes starting in 1612
This paper by D.B. Lawrence, 1950) includes
an analysis of Mendenhall Glacier, its
retreat, and relationship to Solar Activity
CO2 vs. Friis-Christensen and Lassen (Science, 1991)
"Dr. Tim Patterson after Friis-Christensen & Lassen, 1991"
Note that during the 100 year period
1880 to 1980 the temperature follows
the solar cycles and NOT the CO2
Perhaps the sun has a bigger effect
on temperature than CO2
Is the cause/effect debate really over?
It appears that global warming in the amount
of 1 degree in 100 years has occurred.
Relative to earth’s history, that is a very small
There is a large and very expensive effort
underway to develop computer models of the
weather and climate
These mathematical models are extremely
complex and contain hundreds of variables
that are only understood by the modelers
There are many people who doubt that these
models reasonably represent earth’s climate
history or that they can correctly predict
future climate
Why confess if you are not guilty?
The importance of understanding the
cause/effect relationship between CO2 and
temperature is not just an academic or personal
or political or media exercise.
It directly involves what, if anything, we can do
about the perceived Global Warming and
whether we (the people who are using the most
carbon-based fuels) should confess to causing
a catastrophic global environmental disaster as
described in “An Inconvenient Truth” and the
associated “Gore-Presentation”.
Isn’t it time for energy alternatives for
reasons other than global warming?
• Many people have reached the conclusion
that even if CO2 is not now a major climate
problem; reducing our dependence on
carbon-based fuels is a good thing based on
air quality, our current dependence on
foreign oil, the impacts of coal mining and
the reality that carbon-based fuels will runout!
Doing the right thing!
• Many countries, cities, companies and
individuals have started efforts to reduce their
dependence on carbon-based fuels. The two
major efforts include reducing the use of
carbon-based fuels and developing
alternatives to carbon-based fuels.
• Alternatives include energy from nuclear,
hydro, solar, wind and fuel-cells.
• It will be expensive and take considerable time
to bring on-line large quantities of good,
cheap, reliable, and green energy alternatives
to replace current carbon-based fuels
• Earth’s climate has gone through many major
hot/cold cycles before man had figured out how to
make a carbon-based camp fire
• Even if we were able to achieve (zero) man-made
CO2, based on history, it’s not clear what changes
will occur in earth’s climate
This presentation does not provide the answers
to the questions about the causes and magnitude
of Global Warming and Climate Change
Hopefully it does achieve it’s goal of causing you
to exercise critical thinking about this very
important subject and to have serious
doubts that “The Debate is Over!”
and to have an open mind and a questioning
attitude about many of the claims being
made in the literature and in the media.
Lars Hagen
Aug 2007
[email protected]
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