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 Post subject: Global warming
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:13 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 10:19 pm 
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I tend to agree with what you say about both of those being myths. Heck, we're coming out of an ice age. One would expect global climates to be warming up. Not just that, but one would have to be crazy to think that climates would remain stable for any reasonable amount of time.

We already have 3 inches of rain where I live in 2005, and our annual average is just over 8 inches. That's reason enough for me to believe that climates don't have to dictate any concrete laws about what temperatures and/or precipitation has to be...

I don't think there is any way that scientists have proven or can prove that humans are responsible for global climate change, or that global climate change is going to have a significant effect. "The Day After Tomorrow" disaster scenario will never occur, mark my words.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:21 pm 
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My geology teacher said pretty much whats been said. That the Earth is naturally heating up because we are actually currently in a cold period. ALSO Pollution and human waste etc are also playing a part in it but at a very very small scale at the moment.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:55 pm 
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I think it is arrogant as humans to even pretend we effect nature to the degree that most believe. Your evidence correlates directly to the science that is in Bryson's "A short history of Nearly Everything" (one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading) where I first learned that we are currently living during the tail end of an ice age.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 11:58 pm 
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It's a reality that's been spun into a dangerously misinterpreted myth. Yes, we need to do something about it. No, the earth will not freeze in less than a week if we don't.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:35 am 
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deathbyflannel wrote:
I think it is arrogant as humans to even pretend we effect nature to the degree that most believe.


Arrogant? Try humbling. What's arrogant is believing that burning a huge amount of fossil fuels in a very short period of time (100 years vs the earth being around for 5 billion years) won't affect things. It's understandable to believe that the earth has a "sink" for some of the chemicals that we emit, but there is no reason to believe that it can accomodate the huge rate of emissions that we're currently engaged in. We're talking exponential functions here; if the rate increase is 5% per year, that means that the amount of emissions is doubling every 14 years, that is incredible. Put another way, everytime a "doubling" occurs, more chemicals would be emitted in the current year than have been emitted during the entire history of the earth - that is how an exponential function works. I honestly don't think many people can grasp just how quickly things happen.

It's amazing how most people believe in a statement like "everything in moderation" but then go out of their way to not act in accordance. It doesn't matter if the chemical is natural or not, the earth is where it's currently at because of a balance between millions of different processes. When you suddenly introduce an enormous number of man-made processes and convert chemicals from one form to another, or create artificial chemicals, the earth is going to have to reach a new balance, plain and simple.

CommonWord wrote:
No, the earth will not freeze in less than a week if we don't.


I didn't realize we have a psychic on the board. The worry is that, in reaching this new balance, a series of positive feedback loops can occur that will greatly speed up the process. Maybe it won't happen, maybe it will, but I sure as hell don't want to be a betting man.

My biggest gripe with those who think that global warming or climate change is a myth is that they don't seem to acknowledge the vast number of other reasons to support small-footprint technologies. Perhaps the biggest reason that people can relate to being our health. Look at the rates of asthma and so on near coal plants or in dense urban areas, look at the rates of cancer near nuclear power plants, mines, or farms that spray lots of pesticides, the list goes on and on.

Finally, I want to point out that I'm not supporting global warming, per se, but global climate change in general. It's preposterous to assume that we're not having an effect on the earth. We're living in a closed-system here, how could our actions not have such an impact? Besides, the signs are all there... look at the state of present ecosystems, look at the rate of species extinction, and so on. But I suppose the high rate of extinction just happens to coincide with the dramatic increase of human development, right?

Damn, this post is a mess but I have to get back to class.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:48 am 
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I don't want to make a long post because I don't have time but I am going to have to side with Stonecrest on this one. I did a very extensive speech on this in speech class and thought that humans had little effect but after a lot of research I ended feeling the way stonecrest does. This is a serious issue and hopefully humanity can learn to adapt using different fuels or alternate sources of energy before it's too late. I find that most people WANT to side with the group that says humans have no effect because if you admit that you have an effect on the earth then it might affect you personally, like driving your car, using hairspray, lawnmower, other things....etc. Groups like NASA and the EPA I think know better than some of the others who have a personal vested $ interest in what fuels are used and how it will affect their pockets.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:51 am 
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CommonWord wrote:
It's a reality that's been spun into a dangerously misinterpreted myth. Yes, we need to do something about it. No, the earth will not freeze in less than a week if we don't.


I'll agree with this. I don't think the earth will freeze in a week. Even the makers of The Day After Tomorrow said that it's not possible but that the movie was made to make people think and the story was pure Hollywood. It will takes a few hundred years but if we don't start doing something it will not be a fun place for our great grandchildren.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:11 am 
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Cartman wrote:
I don't want to make a long post because I don't have time but I am going to have to side with Stonecrest on this one.

Groups like NASA and the EPA I think know better than some of the others who have a personal vested $ interest in what fuels are used and how it will affect their pockets.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:19 am 
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Taken from NASA:

Our Warming Planet
Global warming, or for that matter any substantial warming of the Earth’s surface, begins with the sun. Except for relatively small fluctuations due to sunspot activity, the amount of radiation from the sun that reaches the Earth has been fairly constant from year to year and century to century. If you were to travel to the outer reaches of the atmosphere and hold up a flat surface perpendicular to the sun’s rays for several years during the daylight hours, you’d find that about 1,368 Watts per square meter on average would hit that surface.

Not all of that energy would be absorbed by the Earth. Roughly 30 percent of the total solar energy that strikes the Earth is reflected back into space by clouds, atmospheric aerosols, reflective ground surfaces, and even ocean surf. The remaining 70 percent is absorbed by the land, air, and the oceans. The absorbed light is mostly in the form of ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared solar radiation.



The temperature of the Earth is determined by the balance between the amount of energy received from the sun and the amount of energy radiated from the surface. The two maps above show measurements from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument in January 2002. The top map shows solar radiation reflected from the Earth by clouds, ice, and bright surfaces like desert. Dark, absorbing areas are colored dark blue, while bright, highly reflective areas are light green, yellow, and white. The bottom map shows heat radiated from the Earth. More energy is emitted by warmer surfaces, so tropical regions are radiating strongly except where there are high, cold clouds. The areas emitting the least energy are represented by white, while blue, purple, red, and yellow represent areas where more heat escapes. (Images by Robert Simmon, based on data provided by the CERES Science Team)

Absorption of solar energy heats up our planet’s surface and atmosphere and makes life on Earth possible. The energy does not stay bound up in the Earth’s environment forever. If it did, then the Earth would grow hotter and hotter until its temperature exceeded that of the sun. Instead, as the rocks, the air, and the sea heat, they emit thermal radiation. Much of this thermal radiation, which is largely in the form of longwave infrared energy, travels directly out into space, leaving the Earth and allowing it to cool. Such radiation is invisible to our eyes, but our hands can feel it radiating from a fire or a car engine.

Some of this outgoing longwave infrared radiation, however, is re-absorbed by water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and is then re-radiated back toward the Earth’s surface. On the whole this re-absorption process is good. If there were no greenhouse gases or clouds in the atmosphere, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be a very chilly -18°C (-0.4°F) instead of the comfortable 15°C (59°F) that it is today.

What has many people worried now is that over the past 250 years humans have been artificially raising the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Our factories, power plants, and cars burn coal and gasoline and spit out a seemingly endless stream of carbon dioxide. We produce millions of pounds of methane by allowing our trash to decompose in landfills and by breeding large herds of methane-belching cattle. Nitrogen-based fertilizers, which we use on nearly all our crops, release unnatural amounts of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere.

Once these carbon-based greenhouse gases get into the atmosphere, they stay there for decades or longer. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels have increased 31 percent and methane levels have increased 151 percent. Paleoclimate readings taken from ice cores and fossil records show that these gases, two of the most abundant greenhouse gases, are at their highest levels in the past 420,000 years. Many scientists fear that the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases have prevented additional thermal radiation from leaving the Earth. In essence, these gases are trapping excess heat in the Earth’s atmosphere in much the same way that a windshield traps solar energy that enters a car.



Carbon Dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been increasing since measurements began in 1958 on Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Simultaneously, global temperatures have been rising. The graphs above compare Carbon Dioxide concentration to temperature anomaly (the difference between annual temperatures and a long-term average temperature). Note the decrease of Carbon Dioxide during each Northern Hemisphere summer, which is caused by plant respiration. [Graphs by Robert Simmon, based on data from the NOAA Climate Monitoring & Diagnostics Laboratory (top) and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (lower)]

Much of the available climate data appear to back these fears. Temperature data gathered from many different sources all across the globe show that the surface temperature of the Earth, which includes the lower atmosphere and the surface of the ocean, has risen dramatically over the past century. The IPCC estimates the increase has been between 0.4°C and 0.8°C. Worldwide measurements of sea level show a rise of 0.1 to 0.2 meters over the last century. Readings gathered from glaciers reveal a steady recession of the world’s continental glaciers. Taken together, all of these data suggest that over the last century the planet has experienced the largest increase in surface temperature in 1,000 years.

As of now, greenhouse gases afford a plausible explanation for such changes. In the Earth’s distant past, drastic increases in carbon dioxide nearly always coincide with large increases in Earth surface temperatures. Conversely, ice ages are almost always accompanied by a decrease in carbon dioxide.

Logic dictates that, as third world nations develop their economies and first world nations consume more energy, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise. Though scientists have not reached a consensus, most leading researchers and organizations purport that the average surface temperature of the Earth will increase along with increasing emissions. According to the IPCC, the surface temperature could rise by between 1.4°C and 5.8°C by the end of the century. Scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA’s division spearheading climate modeling efforts, report that we should expect between 0.5°C and 1°C over the next 50 years.

At first glance, these numbers probably do not seem threatening. After all, temperatures typically change a few degrees whenever a storm front moves through. Such temperature changes, however, represent day-to-day regional fluctuations. When surface temperatures are averaged over the entire globe for extended periods of time, it turns out that the average is remarkably stable. Rarely in the Earth’s history has the average surface temperature changed as dramatically as the changes that scientists are predicting for the next century. During the last ice age 20,000 years ago, for instance, the Earth was roughly 5°C cooler than it is today. Since then it has warmed up, although not steadily, to present levels. That’s an increase of roughly 1°C every 4,000 years. Current global warming scenarios predict, at the bare minimum, a 1°C increase over the next century.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:42 am 
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stonecrest wrote:
I didn't realize we have a psychic on the board.


You don't have to be psychic if you already know everything. Duh.

That is all.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:03 am 
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I dont believe that it is within our power to fuck up the earth so bad that it would be uninhabitable. Nature has it's own way of preserving the balance. If the scales get tipped too far one way, then something else will equalize it. For example, if we start fucking up the ecosystem too much nature will find ways to stabelize it, and that would probably include diminishing the capability to support human life. Once that is taken care of, the ecosystem can continue to flourish. It doesnt have to be that way of course. Just what could happen if we dont change. It's pretty much what happens in any other example of ecosystems being altered dramatically. If you have an infestation of deer in an area and they eat all the vegitation and resources, the deer will start dying out in that area for lack of food, then the ecosystem starts coming back. It will always go back and forth, and that balance is there. It may take thousands or more years in some cases, but it will always work itself out. The cycles can either be dramatic, like in the case of teh deer, or it can be more stable. All depends on what patch we choose.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:06 am 
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Buggy wrote:
I dont believe that it is within our power to fuck up the earth so bad that it would be uninhabitable.


Unless our leaders during the Cold War had a frank exchange of views, tossed a few hundred nuclear warheads across the ponds, and put up millions of tons of ash, smoke, dust, remains of civilization into the atmosphere thus blocking out the sun.

*picks back up the Carl Sagan book she's reading*

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:16 am 
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tsunami wrote:
Buggy wrote:
I dont believe that it is within our power to fuck up the earth so bad that it would be uninhabitable.

Unless our leaders during the Cold War had a frank exchange of views, tossed a few hundred nuclear warheads across the ponds, and put up millions of tons of ash, smoke, dust, remains of civilization into the atmosphere thus blocking out the sun.


Even in that extreme situation, I still think that the earth would recover. Granted, it would take a freeking long time, but I think enough would survive for life to go on. Even in Earths history when giant meteors hit the earth causing mass extinctions and throwing up billions of tons of dust and debries blocking the sun, life was able to survive and go on.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:22 am 
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lets see, tomorrow the high is supposed to be close to 60, and by friday, 19

if its going to get warm, i wish it would stay so

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:33 am 
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I think it also needs to be mentioned that one eruption of Mt. St. Helens has a far more catastrophic effect on the overall climate than anything humans have ever done. If anything happens that will affect life on earth, it will be something completely out of our control. Our influence is negligible. I'm not saying we should go out and purposely pollute, as I hate the brown cloud as much as anyone else, but global warming is a stretch.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:47 am 
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$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
I think it also needs to be mentioned that one eruption of Mt. St. Helens has a far more catastrophic effect on the overall climate than anything humans have ever done.


There's nothing "catastrophic", from the earth's point of view, about a large eruption; it's a natural phenomenon. On the other hand humans are introducing billions of artificial, man-made chemicals into the environment, that is the big distinction. We have no, or very little, idea what impact many of these chemicals will have, especially how these chemicals interact with other chemicals (because the possibilities are endless). That is what is truly catastrophic. I mean, we've seen fish born with both male and female organs, for example. Could a volcanic eruption do that?

A volcanic eruption would certainly reduce the number of living organisms in the world but it would do so in a natural sense. What we're doing to the world, causing mutations and all kinds of screwed-up things, is far scarier if you ask me.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:50 am 
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stonecrest wrote:
$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
I think it also needs to be mentioned that one eruption of Mt. St. Helens has a far more catastrophic effect on the overall climate than anything humans have ever done.


There's nothing "catastrophic", from the earth's point of view, about a large eruption; it's a natural phenomenon. On the other hand humans are introducing billions of artificial, man-made chemicals into the environment, that is the big distinction. We have no, or very little, idea what impact many of these chemicals will have, especially how these chemicals interact with other chemicals (because the possibilities are endless). That is what is truly catastrophic. I mean, we've seen fish born with both male and female organs, for example. Could a volcanic eruption do that?

A volcanic eruption would certainly reduce the number of living organisms in the world but it would do so in a natural sense. What we're doing to the world, causing mutations and all kinds of screwed-up things, is far scarier if you ask me.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:03 am 
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stonecrest wrote:
$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
I think it also needs to be mentioned that one eruption of Mt. St. Helens has a far more catastrophic effect on the overall climate than anything humans have ever done.


There's nothing "catastrophic", from the earth's point of view, about a large eruption; it's a natural phenomenon. On the other hand humans are introducing billions of artificial, man-made chemicals into the environment, that is the big distinction. We have no, or very little, idea what impact many of these chemicals will have, especially how these chemicals interact with other chemicals (because the possibilities are endless). That is what is truly catastrophic. I mean, we've seen fish born with both male and female organs, for example. Could a volcanic eruption do that?

A volcanic eruption would certainly reduce the number of living organisms in the world but it would do so in a natural sense. What we're doing to the world, causing mutations and all kinds of screwed-up things, is far scarier if you ask me.


This is true, and I'm not trying to downplay the effect we have on the Earth. I think carelessness on our part is wrong. I guess my point is that global warming isn't really much of a concern. Our negative effect on the environment is in areas other than climate.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:10 am 
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$úñ_DëV|L wrote:
I guess my point is that global warming isn't really much of a concern. Our negative effect on the environment is in areas other than climate.


And this is where we differ.


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