Archive for May 20, 2013

Warming the Problem?



As Martin Luther said “For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.”


It is not so much that we are having higher temperatures than normal.  What defines normal?  We are in an interglacial period which has in the past brought global warming.  This is a cyclical event – one every 150k/years or so.  There is no telling just exactly how warm it will get during this particular interglacial cycle.  The important question is not so much why it is getting warmer, but why it is not getting cooler like it has in the past as the cycle turns back into a warm decline leading in centuries back to the, long glacial stage of the cycle?  You might say “Oh well, maybe the downturn is just late and will occur in a few hundred years or so.”  Observing the climb of CO2 is not surprising really because records show that the graph for average air temperature and the graph for CO2 are nearly synchronous.  Which one leads and which one lags is controversial, but that they are nearly synchronous is not controversial.


Now here is the frightening news.  The scientific research and media attention is focused on the causes of global warming.  The warming event happened over 8,000 years ago.

We need to pay attention to the factors that we think brought down the CO2 and the temperature in the past 3 or 4 interglacial periods.  One fact is the temperature dropped quickly, nearly as quickly as it rose.  The maximum temperature period has always been short-lived.  He present one has gone on longer than most if not all the previous ones. So be it.  The two primary differences in the global conditions we face this time as compared to the past both are due to the presence of Homo Sapiens.  We have caused extreme desertification coupled with a shortage of ground water and humidity and we have destroyed millions of trees and extensive grasslands.  What sucks in carbon dioxide and expels oxygen and water vapour?  We all know; vegetation, especially trees and the immense grasslands.  I suggest it is almost certain that vegetation is the only possible reason for the steep fall in CO2 that can be observed in the graphs mentioned above.

The Milankovitch cycles and their interaction seem to me to reveal that the orbital forcing combination of eccentricity, obliquity and precession that favours cooling changed a couple of thousand years ago and it looks very much like we have missed a tipping point. Thus it may be centuries before the conditions again favour cooling.  By then, our average global temperature may be so high that the tipping point cannot be reached.  The following paper was written by two of the most distinguished researchers in the field of Earth Sciences.

An Exceptionally Long Interglacial Ahead?     A. Berger and M. F. Loutre  see: berger_loutre02.sci.pdf


“Most CO2 scenarios (15) led to an exceptionally long interglacial from 5000 years before the present to 50,000 years from now (see the bottom panel of the figure), with the next glacial maximum in 100,000 years. Only for CO2 concentrations less than 220 ppmv  was an early entrance into glaciation simulated (15).”

(15). M. F. Loutre, A. Berger, Clim. Change 46, 61 (2000).


[We are at 400ppm of CO2, climbing at an increasing rate with very little hope of stopping anytime soon.]


The penny has been dropped many times but economic greed coupled with the backing of the 1% trumps common sense. I can’t recommend a workable solution.



I know this is a short explanation but I don’t wish to dig any deeper in this message.  See:


The Seasons and the Earth’s Orbit – Milankovitch Cycles


Or if you like my plain talk, see: