Letters to the Editor

Citations sought

December 23, 2009

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To the editor:

Having read some of the semi-popular scientific literature regarding global climate change/warming, Lee Gerhard’s statements certainly raise some questions. He talks of depending on the data in contrast to the results of computer programs. I wish he had cited some of his sources of data. For example, he says, “The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide logarithmically declines with increasing concentration.” I’d like to go to the science library to read articles supporting this finding.

He also writes, “but carbon dioxide concentrations at present are near the lowest in geologic history.” When I read Science News, Scientific American, etc., that is not what I find there. Professor Gerhard, do you fault the scientific methodology of these scientists, including some at KU? They have examined ice cores going back 800,000 years, more or less — several ice ages and interglacial periods.

According to their findings carbon dioxide during glaciation was usually around 180 parts per million, and around 280 ppm during warm intervals, such as the present age. Other scientific observers in mountaintop locations, taking readings of CO2 in the stratosphere, report that CO2 levels are presently 385 ppm.

I hope Gerhard will write again, explaining these apparent contradictions, and give some citations to the scientific literature.

Comments

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 4 months ago

Chapter 5 of Superfreakonomics is excoriating for global warming doomsayers.

Millions more will read (and believe) Superfreakonomics than will read from Science News. That can't be good for the Copenhagen crowd.

lounger 5 years, 4 months ago

Slice and Dice it anyway you wish but climate change is here and at present WE are causing the Lions share. Grow up.....

1029 5 years, 4 months ago

Well, if you look in the Great Book of Science on Table 2b and Table 4a in Chapter 6, Section 4, as well as Figures 11.3 and 11.8 in Chapter 11, Section 1, you'll see that temperature is a man-made concept that was created by liberals to gain support for an agenda that includes raising our taxes, taking away our guns, making government gianormous, and eliminating Christmas once and for all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

"Looking at figure 3.2(f) from the 2001 IPCC report Working Group I chapter 3 you can see that over periods of millions of years that CO2 concentrations were in excess of 1500 PPM."

And can you tell us how many humans were alive at the time, and where they were living? Did they rely on elaborate agricultural technologies that required extremely consistent climate patterns in order to feed billions?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

"Any other areas in which you'd like your ignorance cured?"

It was a rhetorical question, but thanks for making my point, which is that CO2 concentrations millions of years ago don't mean that humanity could somehow survive significant increases in greenhouse gases, or that the mechanisms that created those conditions are the only ones that can cause dramatic climate changes.

A large percentage of the nearly 7 billion humans on this planet will not survive if there are significant changes, in a relatively short period of time, from current climatic conditions, and that's exactly where we're headed.

I know that ideologically you require that everyone be unhindered in their able to practice their own brand of stupidity. Unfortunately, with regards to global warming and climate change, that really only results in the freedom to cause the mass extinction of humans and millions of other species.

kenos 5 years, 4 months ago

Bozo, you're good to want to save the lives of billions of people on the planet, but if you follow the logic of CO2 emission fear-mongers, getting rid of billions of people (who are destroying the planet) is exactly what they intend: so your argument makes no sense.

Mr. Larson asked for citations and http://biocab.org/Geological_Timescale.jpg clearly shows a much higher level of CO2 during the precambrian period.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

My point is that in and of themselves the CO2 levels you mentioned are wholly irrelevant to the current situation. Yet deniers constantly bring it up as if it does mean something, although they never really say what.

So, please, tell us why you brought it up, and how it's relevant to whether human activity is causing or exacerbating global warming and climate change.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Larson wasn't talking about geologic history, but rather recent climatic history. You were the one that brought up geologic (or at least rather ancient climatic) history. So I ask again, what's your point?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

Gerhard did mention geologic history, but that's a rather indefinite term, and my question still remains- What is the significance of the CO2 ppm millions of years ago to the effects of humans' fossil-fuel based industrial activities?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

You still didn't answer the question. You clearly place some significance in it, presumably that the level millions of years ago somehow indicates that human activity is irrelevant to the current warming trend.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 4 months ago

Here's how the CO2 levels millions of years ago relates to today: Millions of years ago CO2 was fixed from the atmosphere into plant, animal, and bacterial life forms, Billions of tons of carbon. The life forms died, settled, were covered by sediment, compressed and heated. By this means they were transformed into fossil fuels. Meanwhile humans evolved and were part of the carbon cycle that was pretty much a surface phenomenon: humans ate food and burned wood releasing CO2, plants fix CO2 making food and wood. After thousands of years of this, people start digging up coal and drilling for oil. And burning it releasing CO2 that had been out of circulation for millions of years. Billions of tons of it. We have been spewing out over the course of one and a half centuries what took many millenia to be put into the ground. It's going to have an impact.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 4 months ago

Add to that clearing of forests and effluent killing coral reefs (the two primary sinks for CO2) and you have a positive feedback to increasing CO2 levels.

kenos 5 years, 4 months ago

The graph I refered to was the Vastik, Antarctica, graph which shows significant fluctuations, and an overall decline: none of which can be correlated with human (industrial) activity. Regardless, we are now in a cooling phase: http://www.examiner.com/x-32936-Seminole-County-Environmental-News-Examiner~y2009m12d16-Disappearing-sunspots-may-signal-end-to-global-warming; which does not correlate to the recent increase in CO2. I guess we can all choose our scientists on the matter, and so I'll choose Piers Corbyn, who says CO2 has absolutely no effect on climate: http://weatheraction.com/. In answer to Bozo, who wonders about human effects on climate, I can only, rather boldly, say that I believe we are co-creators with God, and that we do have an effect on everything in this world.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 4 months ago

"Skeptics need only poke holes in the theory, and hockey stick charts showing a correlation between CO2 and temperatures need to be put in context, which is what is being done when Gerhard brings up past levels of CO2."

I don't see how this pokes holes at all. And I see no convincing argument that it does.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 4 months ago

Liberty, keno, Funny; when Cappy gives you a legitimate answer to address how the current situation is vastly different than the so-called relevant point that CO2 levels used to be higher, you completely ignore him.

I really tire trying to have a discussion on this comment section; I can only come to the conclusion that climate deniers have no real interest in dialogue or are interested in actually reconsidering their position in light of relevant evidence.

Yes, you are entitled to your opinion. Yes you are also entitled to ignore the evidence and entitled to not engage in an actual discussion. I am also entitled to point out that that is all you are doing: spouting your opinions, ignoring evidence to the contrary, and choosing not to engage in an actual discussion.

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