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Global Warming, the End of
Life as We Know It?
The Naysayers View
Definition of Global Warming
 The increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air
and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation.
“Greenhouse Effect”
“Greenhouse Effect”
FAQ 1.1, Figure 1
Some Causes of Global Warming
 Anthropogenous Causes
 (Industrialization)
CO2 emissions
 Burning of fossil fuels
 Deforestation
– Methane
 Livestock
– Nitrous oxide
 Agricultural activities
– Fertilizers
 Natural Causes
Solar variation
Orbital forcing
Atmospheric greenhouse
gasses (major)
Water vapor
Carbon dioxide
Nitrous oxide
The Connection
 High levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been linked to elevated
global temperatures and climate changes
However ….
 Keep in mind
the earth has
gone through
many natural
cycles before.
 http://www.sep
 S. Fred
Some Possible Outcomes of
Continued Global Warming
 Further Glacial Retreat (melting/disappearance)
– Worldwide sea levels could rise (.36 – 2.5 ft, till 2100)
 Positive feedbacks causing further warming
 Weather events
– Changes in precipitation
 Less rain some areas, flooding in others
– More frequent and extreme weather events
 Changes in agricultural yields
 Increased incidences and areas of diseases
The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC)
 Established in 1988 by the parent organizations, World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme
 The Role of IPCC:
– “Assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent
basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information
relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of humaninduced climate change, its potential impacts and options for
adaptation and mitigation”
– This agency does NOT carry out research or monitor climate data
– The basic assessments made are on peer reviewed and published
scientific/ technical literature.
– Divided into three Working Groups and a Task Force
– Getting ready to release their Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)
 To be released last quarter of 2007
Conclusions of IPCC
 Most of the observed increases in globally averaged
temperatures since the mid-20th century due to humans
 Natural phenomena such as solar variation combined with
volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from preindustrial times to 1950.
 These basic conclusions have been endorsed by at least
30 scientific societies and academies of science.
 A few individual scientists disagree with some of the main
conclusions of the IPCC
– S. Fred Singer
Science and Environmental Policy
Project (SEPP)
 Founded in 1990 by atmospheric physicist S. Fred
Singer the “godfather of global warming denial”
 “Founded on belief that sound, credible science
must form the basis for health and environmental
decisions that affect millions of people and cost
tens of billions of dollars every year.”
 Non-profit, educational group
 Mission: “to clarify the diverse problems facing the
planet and where necessary, arrive at effective
cost-conscious solutions”
What are we currently basing our
forecasts on?
 We are basically using past data that may not be
completely accurate
Not completely “global” measurements
Ice core analysis
Fossil analysis
“Urban Heat Islands”
Discrepancy between satellite and weather balloon data
Climate Models
 We are also using Climate Models which are
predictive scenarios of what might happen
with our future climate.
 Over 20 different scientific models
– Based on physical principles
– Fluid dynamics
– Radiative transfer
– AR4WG1_Ch01-Figs_2007-06-05.ppt
– AR4WG1_Ch10-Figs_2007-06-05.ppt
What is the concern with predictive
 All the factors that effect global warming are
so numerous it is nearly impossible to adjust
models to include all of them
– How clouds are treated in the models
– Water vapor
– Variable Sun
 Magnetic activities
– Land clearing albedo changes
Other theories of Global Warming Causation?
 Solar Variation – Astronomical theory
– Magnetic activity that deflects cosmic rays, which has and
effect on cloud formation
– Ice ages cycles are linked to this theory
 A few people over there in Durham (Duke) have written papers
suggesting the Sun’s contribution to current global warming may
have been underestimated by 45-50% (1900-2000)
Other theories of Global Warming Causation?
 Continental drift – Tectonic Events
– Shifts in plates under the earths surface
– Linked to long term climate changes
 Atmosphere – Ocean Interactions
– Changes in ocean circulation
– Linked to shorter climate variations
 Butterfly effect ?
– Unknown variable
In Summary, Does Global Warming mean the
End of Life as We Know It?
 The majority of the climate models predict that conditions wouldn’t
become severe until the year 2100, so it wouldn’t be the end of life as
WE know it if the models are correct
 Predictive climatology isn’t an exact science so life as we know it may
go unchanged, or normalize.
 People are more likely to want to err on the side of caution and
perhaps even take more of an alarmist point of view
– No one wants history to repeat its self (such as in the case of lead)
– No one wants to overlook something that is preventable (somewhat) and
could lead to the total destruction of the world
Some Extra Articles
 Cooling It On Global Warming
 High Price for Load of Hot Air