Global Warming Explained


I got a lot of answers to my questions about global warming last night while watching TV. There was a show discussing the issue on the History Channel. It was not sensationalist; there was no suggestion that we were in for a world of hurt until around the end of the century. But there was an explanation of what happened in the past millenniums when there was an increase in greenhouse gases and global average temperatures increased over 15F. In at least 2 cases there was mass extinction. The same was true when greenhouse gases decreased abnormally, except that it led to ice ages, including one where the entire globe was encased in ice. In all cases so far, the changes in carbon dioxide or methane concentrations in the atmosphere were natural. Cold spells are typically due to a change in the ellipticity of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. When the orbit is elliptical, ice ages are more apt to occur. We are in an elliptical period right now, but global temperatures are rising. The most reasonable explanation is that greenhouse gases, most notably carbon dioxide, are increasing at a high rate. How do scientists know the concentration of carbon dioxide over the millenniums? They collect ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctica and determine the carbon dioxide concentrations in the ice strata. Maybe we really do need to make an effort to control greenhouse gases.

Oh, yeah. The hook to cars is that we need to drive smaller vehicles more efficiently and find alternate forms of energy for the cars, like electric motors. There is a pilot coal burning plant in Illinois that exhausts it’s vapors underground. Maybe that concept will supply clean energy from a traditional source of electricity.


I saw it too. Good show . . . but the suggestion of an alternative fuel made the most sense to me. Rocketman


That bit about the Earth being in an elliptical orbit at times is incorrect. Earth is always in an elliptical orbit. In Nothern Hemisphere winter, we are closer to the sun by a few million kilometers, in summer we are farther away. Of course, the Earth also tilts somewhat during it’s orbit, too. But these changes occur predictably every year. Also, as for temperature rises, a similar rise in temperature has been found on Mars currently. So unless Martians are driving Ford Excursions over there, something else is at work.

As for the cold periods, astronomers have found a strong correlation with periods of solar inactivity. And what happens on the sun, seems to effect Earth about 2 years later - when there’s a rash of sunspots, about 2 years later there’s very active Northern Lights. Likewise, when the temperatures were at their recent peak in the 90’s, the sun was about 2 years past it’s peak of activity, which cycles through every 11 years. Right now, the sun is in a very inactive period, so based on past evidence, I’d suggest there’s going to be a slight cooling of the Earth over the next couple years.


The basic truths are gradually sinking in and becoming mainstream. Global warming as predicted will not wipe out the human race, it will affect a lot of people in marginal areas, benefit Northern countries, and flood very low lying areas, including New Orleans.

The Dutch are cutting greenhouse gasses and also raising the levels and integrity of their dikes. Louisiana, and US Army Corps of Engineers, please note the reality check.

Rich people who built expensive condos close to the water in Miami will suffer the consequences; insurance companies are already puting clause in their policies.

The catastophic things that happened in the past were random events; lagre number of volcanic eruptions, meteorites hitting the earth, etc. These things are still equally likeky, but we can’t influence their occurrence one way or the other.

About 90% of the BENEFITS of global warming will accrue to Russia and Canada. Arctic exploration and oil & gas producton will increase and Northern regions will open up to farming.


That’s why I’m doing my part as a Canadian by driving a big V8…it’s a patriotism thing! :wink:


While there is no way in the world I would ever be intelligent enough to speak on this issue in scientific terms I can add a few comments about this issue. My son, who is a degreed meteorologist and a degreed climatologist, translates a lot of this into plain English for me so I feel I probably know more about the issue than the average person on the street.
The majority of people get their “information” on the subject from television and that’s the last place to look for the truth about this issue.

Even the way the temperatures are taken is a joke now. Way back when, a thermometer was nailed to a tree in the shade a certain height off the ground and so many meters away from any structure. A man on horseback would make his rounds and note the temp by eyeball from horseback. Now it’s become digital and more precise.
Many of the thermometers being used have been “conveniently placed” to produce the desired results. In all seriousness here, one thermometer is placed under the eave of a building directly above a central air unit, another is placed on top of a building next to a roof mounted A/C unit, another is placed next to a couple of junk cars where the thermometer receives reflected light from the windshields, etc. Kind of skews things a bit, huh?

As to CO2, I don’t remember the exact stats but several times in the past (millions of years ago) CO2 levels were literally dozens of times higher than they are now. This gets into a discussion of methane, the ocean floor, volcanic action, etc.

Have the temps climbed a bit? Yes, BUT, the swing is completely within the normal temp swings that have always occurred. Temps spike upwards about every 100k years and we’re in the top of that spike now. This was occurring long before a single man and his Ford Explorer ever existed.

Even the bit about the Antarctic melting is pure bunk. One part of it is breaking off (isn’t that what glaciers are supposed to do?) BUT ice is building elsewhere at the South Pole. Net result, the same or more ice. The ocean is not going to rise and flood anything.

And for what it’s worth, one of latest “scientific” articles now state that fat people are contributing to global warming.
It is stated that extra weight is making the car engine work harder, which burns more fuel, which increases global warming.
So if you’re not height/weight proportionate then you’re part of the alleged problem. This means that every time you drive through the MacDonalds Drive-Thru you’re contributing to GW. Don’t get mad at me; I did not write the article or agree with it). :slight_smile:

(For a real eye opener, I suggest reading Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear” about this issue. The story line and characters are fictitious but the scientific references, charts, etc. are all real. It will certainly give you an idea of the game playing behind this issue.)


Mostly people are going to believe what they want to believe, then go out and find anecdotes (or novels) to support it. If anyone is interested in “climate by climate scientists”, then I suggest looking at



The people interviewed for this show were climatologists for the most part. They did not say that the end was near in human terms, but that we had several decades (up to 100 years or so) to deal with the issue. Maybe you and your son could watch it and see if it makes any sense to you. As to ice melting, there are a number of ways to determine if ice is actually receding. Satellite photos show that the total ice mass in Greenland and the Antarctic is receding, not just in one area. Also, tropical mountains with snow mass are also melting at unprecedented rates. BTW, I agree with you that the fat people article sounds silly. Not all information available is scientifically sound that tries to be.


Sunspot activity was also mentioned as a contributor to temperature variations. The was a mini-ice age about 180 years ago attributed to extremely low sunspot activity. Not at the time, of course, but solar activity was recorded for many decades before the correlation was seen.

Maybe another way to discuss ellipticity is to say the sometimes the orbit is more elliptical than others. Under current conditions, the scientists who participated in this project said that we should experience a little Earth cooling under current conditions. But there is a sharp increase in temperature instead. This happens to coincide with the proliferation of man in the last 100 years.


Ok man, that is a groovey concept. But lets think about it like this: if you go to the shoe salesman (OK, Sales person) and ask him/her if you need new shoes, what is he/she going to tell you? Right, you deffinetly need new shoes. How come greenhouse gases weren’t a real critical issue until Gore lost the Presidency and a real President confronted terrorism for the first time in 8 years instead of being pre-occupied with distracting from infidelity? You’re a victim of the media and one track referrencing. Try doing complete research and discover that the amount of change in the environment is insignificant when considered with millenniums of time. Also consider things like modern medicine which the dinosaurs and neanderthal man didn’t have. Also, what are we, how is the environment, going to handle spent batteries or whatever fuel cells power alternative cars? How are government officials going to exploit the fundamental power sources for cars, homes, etc in the future just as much as they exploit petroleum. Yet another reason to do truely independant research: how much has past governments taxed fuel sources with King George-type greed? How much financial burden should be put on the people through taxes (As we have seen in the past) to fix a problem because someone sees an issue to exploit?. Sooner or later, they will be burdened for sure. Or, how much will the people be asked to pay for alternative cars, homes, etc. One way or another it all comes out to greed, not actual concern. One of the basic needs for a country like the US is to provide or promote true freedom as much as possible whether it is freedom from financial oppression, religious oppression, whatever from these Gore-type hippie socialists who are only concerned about makeing a buck at anyone’s expense. What kind of car was Gore, Jr. busted in when he was caught driving drunk? How much fuel does Gore’s lear suck up in one flight, how much energy does the Gore mansion require in comparison to the entire block you live on?
Do your own research with an open mind not with one-track logic as is given to us from the media that used to be free. I refuse to be a continuous victim of a groovey, glassey-eyed, commune living, doom-and-gloom generation. Although, I absolutely agree that we should use our God provided resources wisely - use only as much as needed to sustain life. When will my consumption of air and my personal waste from bodily functions be an issue for someone like Gore to exploit?


I am truly delighted that Norm has returned to share his vast storehouse of scientific knowledge with us.


It?s truly amazing that all those that discredit the scientific community that does support the global worming thesis, choose to believe the same scientific community when it benefits them and pray for their success in curing deceases, predicting the weather, developing many safety devices, inventing new weaponry, use new tech. to extract oil from deep under sea, put man into outer space, and generally benefit mankind in so many ways.

As soon as the Scientific community disagrees with their politics they are quickly besmirched.


I have attempted to watch some of these shows and so has my son. About 15 minutes is as much as he can stand.
As to the comment about believing what I want to believe and finding a “novel” to back it up, then melott should re-read my post. I said the storyline is fictional but the scientific references and charts are all fact.
Read the book closely and note how “selective” global warming occurs. It happens in one town but not in another 50 miles away. Go back 50 years in a certain area and you have GW; go back 100 and you don’t; go back 150 and you do. Play it any way you want but the unaltered scientific info in that book is from NCAR, NOAA, AMS, etc.
There is no “anecdote” to it.

Of course things are changing; they always have and they always will and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Just a week ago my son was telling me about some recent fossil discoveries in frozen northern Canada. On some obscure island rain forest plant life and reptile fossils were discovered. This is on top of the alligator fossil discovered in the Arctic circle.

If one thinks flooding is something to worry about then do the math. The oceans cover about 140 million square miles. If the entire Arctic and Antarctic ice packs were to melt (totalling about 28 million square miles during their peaks) any ocean rise would be microscopic at best. Remember that the Arctic is mostly sea ice so the volume will shrink. Remember the 10 inches of ice to 1 inch of water ratio?
Throw an ice cube into a 5 gallon bucket of water and see what happens when it melts.

Of course some climatologists are going to go along with this. Funding is very, very sparse in this area and “being normal” is not going to get a guy a grant to study this.
One of my son’s professors was one of the lead authors on the U.N. IPCC report and when my son first started in this field he was told “forget everything you’ve seen or read about GW. It’s a poltical issue, NOT an environmental one”.
Now this guy’s position is that GW is real. What brought on the change of heart? Finally saw the light? Read more data? No, it was probably that 4 + million dollar opportunity he gained by going the other way on the issue.
Someone gives me 4 + million and I’ll argue the point that pigs can really fly.

Remember this. Everything that is being said about GW is based on one thing - a computer model. There are a number of computer models so one can pick the one that best fits your beliefs.

I am curious about something I mentioned previously. What are your feeling about the temperature being taken from a thermometer mounted above a central air unit? Do you think that thermometer might read a tad higher than one hanging under a tree branch?

As Hitler’s right hand man Joseph Goebbles stated; Make the lie big enough, repeat it often enough, and eventually they will believe it.


OK, I think your son is also selectively feeding you information for whatever reason. I, like you, do not get my information from TV or Al Gore.

My son is an environmental scientist and also doing a Master’s Degree in “Sustainable Energy Economics”. a course George Bush should take but is probably over his head.

Suggests a good primer on climate change, although it is not easy reading , is “The Weathermaker"s” by Australian Climatologist Tim Flannery. He gives a good explanation of all the various cycles the earth is and was going through. The giste of his book is that at this stage the earth should be going through a natural COOLING CYCLE, rather than warming up.

Agree with other posters that the Antartic and Greenland Icecaps would have to melt to cause real flooding disasters for the human race. A good book on how to cope with Global Warming is “Cool It!” by Bjorn Lomberg.

Russians and Canadians will benefit from Global Warming, so not everyone will suffer.


I don’t pat attention to Gore or anyone specific. I pay attention to ideas and explanations for the phenomenon. Global warming makes a lot more sense than it used to a few days ago.


I like the political aspects of global warming. I also like the people who think that nothing can or should be done to fight it. They always mention that there were ice ages in the past and we should be grateful for the warming. They make it sound like we could bring on an ice age if we try to fight global warming. Back to my world. I’m in the middle of Maine and I can’t wait for Spring to show up. I don’t care how bad it used to be. I live here NOW.


We’ve had extreme heat and extreme cold in the past and a great deal of life on the planet died. I’d rather not be among the species that dies next time, especially if we do it. It certainly could happen due to natural causes as in the past, but we don’t need to kill ourselves if we can avoid it.


What is truely amazing to me is how people demand concrete proof to even consider the concept that humankind is adversly affecting our environment while at the same time they believe in, and defend vigourously as fact, their religous beliefs with absolutely zero concrete proof.

What else is amazing to me is how we debate the issue of what is causing climate change and whetehr it is a natural cycle ot not - while ignoring the concept of how the heck we are going to adapt when climate change(naturally occurring or otherwise) happens.

And even more amazing is how we want to shift our fuels to a crop based fuel while knowing that climate change is happening and that it may affect our ability to predict future crop success.


If these sweeping climate changes have happened in the past, well before industrialization mind you, then what difference does it make if there are man-made Co2 emissions or not? Furthermore, literally every lifeform, and almost every physical object in the world is carbon-based to begin with. If the enviromentals are to be believed and we would have to give up pretty much everything to appease the gods and somehow stop the upcoming inundation, which will happen anyway since its part of cycle that has been going on since the dawn of time.


Do your own research with an open mind

Obviously you did neither…

one-track logic

Logic is a concept that eludes you. You don’t have the faintest what logic is.

How come greenhouse gases weren’t a real critical issue until Gore lost the Presidency and a real President confronted terrorism for the first time in 8 years instead of being pre-occupied with distracting from infidelity?

WHAT??? Where have you been in the past 30 years. Global warming has been a MAJOR issue in the scientific community for WELL OVER 30 YEARS. Been reported in the press and every single scientific journal since the 70. Gore just brought it out in the open.

It wasn’t until the 80’s that MOST scientists actually started to believe it. Scientific theories are published for pier review. When global warming was first published MOST scientists disbelieved it…They conducted their own tests to actually prove it wrong…but experiment after experiment after experiment scientists started to come on board the global warming bandwagon. The VAST MAJORITY of the scientific community believes in global warming.

My daughter is finishing up her degree in Chemical Engineering at MIT next year. She’s already doing a lot of research with some of the most renowned scientists in the world. Several with nobel prizes.

With that said…

Where Gore has gone too far…is the prediction of what all this means. Global warming is happening…That’s a fact. It’s no longer theory. We’ve been taking very very accurate measurements for the past 100 years. It’s NOT isolated to just small pockets around the globe. The whole world is affected. Glaciers world wide are shrinking or completely gone. Alaska, Greenland, every single mountain range glacier is either currently shrinking or is completely gone. Scientists who study glaciers have not found a single glacier world wide (of the ones left) that’s NOT shrinking.

HOWEVER…That doesn’t mean it will stay that way…or if it does what effect it will have on the earth. The earth is a chaotic system. It’s almost impossible to predict what will happen. Global warming may actually cause a ice age. The warmer the earth gets…the more the polar ice packs melt…this cools the ocean and sends fresh water in the ocean which causes other problems. It’s just too unpredictable to predict what will happen.

Where the scientific community also is at odds is WHY this is happening. A good majority think it’s man, but there are many who don’t. My daughter and the Professors she works with think it’s part man and part just the cycle of nature. Who knows. The problem is…by the time we figure it out…it may be too late. If it IS MAN and we decide to put our heads in the sand like our current Administration does then when things really start to change it will be far to late to do anything about it.

ow much financial burden should be put on the people through taxes

I’ve heard many many solutions to stem off global warming…and NOT ONE OF THEM included any kind of taxes what so ever. In fact there wasn’t one financial burden on anyone. There were several that would actually help.

. Instead of giving Exxon and the oil companies these HUGH TAX RIGHT OFFS (well over 100 million annually)…how about taking that money and invest in other technology like solar. Solar is getting very very big again…especially in Europe. Wouldn’t it be great to buy a solar panel for $5,000 that will run ALL or MOST of your electrical needs. Based on the way solar technology has been increasing in the past 10 years that’s NOT too far fetched. A $5000 up front investment will pay for itself in less then 5 years. Everything after that is FREE ELECTRICITY. How is that a financial burden on anyone.