[Vision2020] Questions about global warming

nortons nortons at moscow.com
Mon May 14 14:28:57 PDT 2007

Regarding your post,
You will need to revise your analysis of the data when you  
reinterpret the graph (fig 1).
Tthe left hand y-axis represents the total atmospheric carbon dioxide  
as parts per million in the atmosphere (the orange line). The right  
hand axis represents the total mass of carbon (as carbon dioxide)  
anthropogenically added to the atmosphere during the given year (grey  
line). You can't read the orange line off the right hand axis nor the  
grey line off the left axis. The fact that the lines cross in 1960 is  
an artifact of the scales chosen for the two graphs.  For example, If  
you contract or expand the left axis, you can make the lines cross at  
just about any year you want.  If I've misinterpreted what you did,  
please accept my apology

P.S. This is my first post and I'm winging how to do it.

On May 14, 2007, at 12:00 PM, vision2020-request at moscow.com wrote:
> Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 11:56:36 -0700
> From: lfalen <lfalen at turbonet.com>
> Subject: Re: [Vision2020] [Spam]  Questions about global warming
> To: "Paul Rumelhart" <godshatter at yahoo.com>, Vision2020
> 	<vision2020 at moscow.com>
> Message-ID: <299be6223b3445045ac061b22a693163 at turbonet.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Thanks fior your post. I have printed it off  and will read as time  
> permits. I would like to complement you and Glen Schwaller on your  
> posts. Both of you have presented reasoned viewpoints without   
> being vindictive or engaging in innuendo. I would like to see more  
> of this on vision2020.  Skeptical Inquirer has a review of the  
> literature on global warming in the May/June issue. They will  
> continue the review in the July/August issue. I may tend to  
> disagree with their conclusions. Good discussion none the less.
> Roger
> -----Original message-----
> From: Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
> Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 17:55:47 -0700
> To: Vision2020 vision2020 at moscow.com
> Subject: [Spam] [Vision2020] Questions about global warming
>> I have been looking into Global Warming, and I have some questions  
>> that
>> have come up as I've been attempting to educate myself on this topic.
>> First, look at this graph from the Energy Information Administration
>> which appears to be part of the Department of Energy (from
>> http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html in case your
>> email doesn't show it):
>> Trends in Atmospheric Concentrations and Anthropogenic Emissions of
>> Carbon Dioxide
>> I've been attempting to understand this graph for a little while now,
>> and something about it seems strange to me.  Hopefully, I have
>> misunderstood it completely.  The text for this image states:  
>> "Figure 1
>> is a line graph showing the trends in atmospheric concentrations and
>> anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide.".  Ok.  We're talking  
>> millons
>> of metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere here, with a scale that  
>> goes
>> from 0 (in 1860 or so) to about 6,600 at present.  I had at first
>> assumed that they were showing the total amounts of carbon int he
>> atmosphere on the right hand side, but the numbers are way too low  
>> for
>> that and they start at zero.  There is supposedly right now about 730
>> billions metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere, so that top 7,000
>> million tons number must mean something else.  It's somewhat close to
>> the current number for billions of tons of carbon put into the
>> atmosphere by "Fossil Fuel Combustion and Industrial Processes",  
>> which
>> appears to be an annual number.  To make these numbers come  
>> together, I
>> have to assume that the above graph is showing the amount of  
>> change in
>> millions of tons of carbon each year since 1750.
>> So my question is, what happened in the 1960s?  That is the point at
>> which the lines cross.  So, if you look at 1860 you see that the  
>> entire
>> amount of carbon increase each year in the atmosphere (the orange  
>> line)
>> is about 2400 million tons.  So that's the baseline for the
>> non-anthropogenic increases.  It would basically have been going  
>> up by
>> that amount without our help every year, anyway.  Perhaps we had some
>> effect before 1860 burning wood and coal, cutting down forests and so
>> on, but presumably not the steep incline we see later - so we're  
>> not so
>> much to blame here.
>> Now, if you look at 1950, you see that the total anthropogenic  
>> amount is
>> about 1500 million tons, yet the total atmospheric increase is about
>> 3600. Subtracting the two, you get a difference of 2100 million tons
>> instead of the 2400 million tons that I would have naively predicted.
>> It gets hugely worse in the 1960s, where the graphs actually  
>> cross.  At
>> that point, the total amount of atmospheric change per annum is  
>> due to
>> anthropogenic changes.  From that point forward, the amount of
>> atmospheric change would have been dropping, if not for the huge  
>> spike
>> in anthropogenic change.  We have the strange situation where the  
>> total
>> amount of atmospheric change is less than the total amount of
>> anthropogenic change, which is just flat-out weird.  What this  
>> seems to
>> say is that if you simply stopped burning all fossil fuels and  
>> stopped
>> all industrial processes, the amount of carbon in the air would drop
>> quite quickly.
>> This is why I'm skeptical that we are going to have as disastrous an
>> effect as seems to be assumed by global warming proponents.
>> Take a look at the next graph on that site:
>> Global Carbon Cycle (Billion Metric Tons Carbon)
>> We are focusing so much on the dashed line heading from the  
>> factory to
>> the atmosphere that we seem to be ignoring the question of why 90
>> billion tons of carbon come out of the atmosphere and end up in the
>> ocean while only 88 billion tons makes its way back.  Same with
>> vegetation and soils - 120 from atmosphere to vegetation/soils,  
>> 119 goes
>> back.  Even the changing land-use figures are in our favor, by 0.2
>> billion tons.  This seems to mesh with the previous graph, i.e. if  
>> you
>> stop all industrial process altogether than the amount of carbon  
>> in the
>> atmosphere will drop by 3.2 billion tons every year.  Since the  
>> article
>> stated that certain greenhouse gases have increased by 25% since  
>> 1850,
>> then there must have been 730 / 1.25 = 584 billions of tons of  
>> carbon in
>> the air at that time.  Thus, it would take (730 - 584) / 3.2 = 45.625
>> years to get back to pre-industrial levels.  Of course, these changes
>> are probably not linear - I'm sure they all change  with great
>> complexity, which is why relying on those numbers in the other  
>> direction
>> without better understanding them seems foolish.
>> I'm not saying that we shouldn't be pressuring our government and  
>> that
>> of other countries to lower that 6.3 number, but maybe we should  
>> also be
>> trying to find ways to increase the differences in those different
>> areas.  The only way that comes to mind right off hand is to take  
>> much
>> of our current vegetation and sink it to the bottom of the ocean  
>> so that
>> when it grows back it will have to take it's carbon from the
>> atmosphere.  Of course, that's not a viable solution for a whole  
>> host of
>> different reasons - but the idea is to "think outside the  
>> box" (gods I
>> hate that phrase) and look for other solutions at the same time we  
>> are
>> trying to convince those lunk-heads in charge that depending on  
>> fossil
>> fuels is a Bad Idea for many different excellent reasons.
>> Just to forestall some things: I am not saying that global warming  
>> isn't
>> happening, obviously it is.  I'm not saying we aren't having an  
>> effect
>> on it, obviously we are.  That's a change in my thinking since I  
>> started
>> learning about this.  I was skeptical at first that we could have  
>> such
>> an enormous effect.  While that 6.3 number is small compared to the
>> amount of carbon going into the air from the oceans or from  
>> vegetation,
>> it's much larger proportionally than I would have guessed.  My  
>> position,
>> if you would call it that, is that this whole process is so bloody
>> complicated that we shouldn't be sounding the Trumpets of Doom and  
>> Gloom
>> all the time until we have some better numbers and a model that we  
>> can
>> use that has shown itself to be predictive.  The above is talking  
>> just
>> about the relatively simplistic carbon cycle, and doesn't even  
>> touch on
>> the other greenhouse gases, their interactions, or what the various
>> numbers given above are going to do as the earth warms even more  
>> or even
>> what their current rates of change are at this moment.
>> If we do need to sound the trumpets, think about this - what if we  
>> have
>> set into motion a series of processes that will dump so much  
>> carbon from
>> the atmosphere before they stop that we will *need* to keep up our
>> anthropogenic changes or risk freezing to death?  I'm not actually
>> serious here, just trying to illustrate why "doom and gloom" doesn't
>> really help the debate.
>> Paul
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