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Plea for good info on global warming

  1. Mar 5, 2004 #1

    Haelfix

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    I'm a physicist, and a skeptic. I have been all my life.

    Now, when it comes to global warming, I admit to not knowing a great deal. It seems that many in Academia feel that this is a legitimate threat. However, I have this growing suspicion about the integrity of many of these academics in the geo sciences. And frankly, that pisses me off, b/c there is no reason I should be doubting a fellow scientist at an accredited institution.

    The thing that started rousing my suspicions, was when I was with a group of physicists who were debating fellow proffessors. The physicsists (who actually knew what they were talking about), were completely dismissive of the 'geos' viewpoints, and with good reason. Indeed, some of the fundamental physical equations the geophysicsists were using to model things were WRONG mathematically.

    Upon talking with my colleagues, they informed me that the field was ripe with fraud, politics, money and excessive crap. Hell, read Freeman Dyson's thoughts on the subject (and there are few people alive I trust more implicitly)

    So who am I to believe? Obviously the eqns are so complicated, it would be completely futile to expect anything definitive, but I am beginning to retreat into uninformed skepticism. Surely there are serious academics in the geo sciences who are proffessional and scientifically competent enough to make progress in the field. Its their viewpoints that I want... I'd love nothing more to hear an informed opinion, whether its pro/neutral/or con. But there is this trust issue.

    Its times like this, where I often look for a review article which tries to be nonbiased, a cold hard technical centrist look at things.
     
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  3. Mar 5, 2004 #2

    Bystander

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    Google "global mean temperature" --- it's a thoroughly mixed bag; notably absent (as far as I've read through the pile) are lunar precession cycle-solar cycle and their product --- does include the odd mean sea level study --- but no explanation for 100 km3 over the past century beyond hand-waving appeals to density as function of T --- no bathythermography worth talking about --- no "figure of the earth" --- .

    Hit NOAA for carbon dioxide and trace gas concentration-time maps. Bore hole temperature proxies have achieved "fad status" the last 5-10 years --- papers on method are few and far between --- can get you a couple citations with results --- results w'out method always raises questions.
     
  4. Mar 5, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    As per NOAA

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/assessments/assess_96/tgases.html

    http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/assessments/assess_99/tgases.html
     
  5. Mar 5, 2004 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Bore holes are a fad? Based on what?

    Can you produce one paper published in a major journal that does not cite methods and sources?
     
  6. Mar 5, 2004 #5

    Bystander

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    http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/figures/figures.html
    for the graphical results ---
    http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/figures/co2rug.jpg
    is an example of the seasonal variation over the northern latitudes. This is a great one for the "warmers" --- and, it's also a great one for the "warmers are alarmists" --- see if you can figure out what's odd with the picture.

    The use of bore hole temperature profiles as proxy temperature records has a perfectly reasonable theoretical foundation; the application of the theory to existing bores is a bit problematical --- there's no control of heat transfer up/down the bore. That is, the bore temperature profile is a modification of the matrix temperature profile, which is the real temperature proxy.
     
  7. Mar 5, 2004 #6

    Phobos

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    Haelfix - Stick with the science organizations & avoid the political think tanks (on either side of the debate). I agree it's a tough issue to figure out - - both sides present good arguments. Heck, I'm an environmental engineer and I'm still trying to figure out what's going on. My current thinking is that adverse impacts resulting from human-induced global warming are a distinct possibility and, in this case, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2004 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Dunno.

    http://www.unis.no/RESEARCH/GEOLOGY...eLayerTemperatureMonitoringBlockyMaterial.htm

    It seems to me that these concerns are addressed.
     
  9. Mar 8, 2004 #8

    Bystander

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    Compare carbon dioxide concentrations at latitudes of northern hemisphere industrial and population centers to carbon dioxide concentrations at higher latitudes.
    Ivan, I don't review borehole papers for a living --- the two or three I've run into involve universities taking over donated holes and adapting them for temperature profiling. The adaptations do not include pulling casings; they do not include convection controls. Your reference points out the other grim problem --- thermistor stability.
     
  10. Mar 8, 2004 #9

    Nereid

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    Haelfix,

    Also be careful to distinguish between work done to model the past with extrapolations - based on those models - into the future. By necessity the extrapolations include links to things like industrial activity, population, etc. Several professional economists have questioned the soundness of the (physical) scientists' (economic) assumptions and (implicit) economic models.

    On a separate, but somewhat related matter, many of the ideas for mitigation are ill-conceived, economically; and the 'cost' of reaching certain (environmental) goals or targets may well be much smaller if proposed programs were designed with a better understanding of economics.
     
  11. Mar 11, 2004 #10
    And I was chastized for simply saying that global warming is definite [zz)]
     
  12. Mar 11, 2004 #11

    Nereid

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    I must be in the slow class today ... there has been a rise in average global temperature - no one surely is contesting that! What's much more difficult is to understand the factors which are contributing to this clear signal, and to have confidence in models of what will happen in the next 50-100 years.

    For example, homo sap, directly or indirectly, has contributed to x% of the global warming over the past t years. If t ~<100 years, x ~>50%; if t ~10,000 years, x ~> ??

    And even when we do have confidence in the models, or recognise that it would be prudent to reduce global homo sap induced rises in atmospheric CO2 to y gigatonnes pa, how do we go about attaining that objective?
     
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