I started going through the beginning of this thinking I would respond to every post that was contradicted by either fact or science, but the response quickly mushroomed far beyond anything anyone would likely read all the way through.
I'll touch on the few glaring problems with some of the posts I saw, and if anyone else has any questions about, refutations to, concerns with, or doubts about the existence of anthropogenic warming and resulting climate change, please ask here, or PM or email me.
1) The idea that Jan 07-Jan 08 "cooling" "erased" global warming-
*2007 was an incredibly warm year:
NASA 2007 tied for the second hottest year on record.
NOAA 2007 hottest ever land temps, fifth hottest year overall.
(NASA and NOAA use different baselines and NOAA doesn't count the Arctic, so there is a small difference in ranking)
*This January was somewhat cool compared to some of the record breaking ones we've had in the last two decades, but it was still above average
: .18C above the global mean according to NOAA.
*Every time a record warm year is followed by a coldish winter, cries of "global warming has stopped!/is erased!" will ring. There was a greater temperature drop from the record (tied with 2007 for second) hot year in 1998 (boosted by a significantly strong El Nino) to the winter following. Some people to this continue to claim that warming stopped in 1998
, despite 2005 being the warmest year on record. Mark my words, you will see this happen again and again as long as people continue to reject climate science: Every cold/coldish winter (but especially those that follow record warm years) you will hear that warming stopped/was a lie/has been erased, etc.
*It's also worth noting that the source DailyTech used for that article completely denied the idea that warming had been erased:
Anthony Watts wrote:I wish to state for the record, that this statement is not mine: "–a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years"
There has been no "erasure".
2) The majority of scientists and/or the media were convinced that a new ice age/global cooling was imminent in the 70s:
This is flat out false. There was a cooling trend from the 40s-70s, due to aerosol cooling from particulate pollution and volcanism, largely in the form of sulfur dioxide. It was noted, but there was no scientific consensus on a new ice age/global cooling being imminent. Nor was there even a consensus reported in the popular press. The majority of papers published during that time dealt with global warming
When regulation limiting sulfur dioxide and other particulate pollution was enacted and volcanism died down a bit, the warming rebounded. And no, that doesn't mean we should go back to pumping sulfur back into the air to combat warming. Acid rain has its own set of consequences and the respiratory effects of particulates aren't pleasant either.
3) Natural variability/cycles and "a few degrees is no big deal":
Yes, there absolutely are natural cycles that alter climate. When someone flashes a graph of ice core concentrations of CO2 and temp and claims as proof that the current situation is just part and parcel of that, they are either very misinformed, or lying.
CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The greenhouse effect is uncontroversial science. Without greenhouse gases the Earth would be some 60F colder.
CO2 levels have varied in the past without human interference. However, they have done so over long periods of time and within a certain boundary.
Humans began changing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through land use, and later through burning fossil fuels. Our burning of fossil fuels has pushed CO2 beyond its range of natural variability, and done so at a speed outside natural variability.
Put it together, and you can see how much further and how much faster we've increased CO2 beyond natural variability.
We have exceeded both the speed of increase and the level of CO2 in the atmosphere far more than anything we have on record going back 800,000 years.
We are pushing temperatures beyond the range of natural variability as a consequence.
While I take severe issue with anyone that claims we cannot establish a global mean temperature (we certainly can), those that ask "what temperature should
it be?" ask a far more serious question than they realize.
There is no ideal temperature or temperature range for the planet itself. To the physical object of the Earth, we have no real relevance to its overall survival as a planetary object. There is however, a temperature norm that humans are accustomed to. What we have adjusted ourselves to habitation-wise and agriculturally.
While the climate was not necessarily static in any one location, the global climate regime was more or less stable, averaged over time, and humans adjusted accordingly by flocking to enormous coastal urban cities and becoming dependent on fixed agricultural lifelines.
If we were a small tribe of hunter gatherers, climate change wouldn't be as severe, as we could shift with it and hopefully have enough resources to sustain our numbers. But we're sprawling urban centers, many of them on vulnerable coastlines, fed by dedicated agricultural centers that can't simply be up and moved degrees latitude as it warms.
Within that narrow band of +/-.5C, we have spread across the planet and established empires and kingdoms.
We are pushing beyond that band of natural variability:
Next post, I'll probably deal with the issue of consensus. Anything else anyone wants to talk about as well.