Last Year May Have Been the Warmest on Record, But Clues From a Coral Atoll Suggest We Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

By Tom Yulsman | January 16, 2015 6:17 pm
Coral

Source: Wikimedia Commons

It really is official now: 2014 was the warmest year in a record stretching back to 1880. The news came in an unusual joint press conference by both NASA and NOAA.

This follows the release of data by the Japan Meteorological Agency earlier this month showing essentially the same thing.

Is this the end of a slowdown in the rise of global average temperatures at the surface? It is too soon to tell. But recent research by Diane Thompson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, suggests that no matter what happens in the short term, global warming is probably primed to eventually take off with a vengeance.

Her conclusion emerges from some fascinating scientific detective work involving a single piece of coral plucked from the waters of Tarawa atoll in the tropical Pacific.

We start that detective story with the global warming slowdown:

“Despite the fact that we are continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, warming has slowed,” Thompson says.  “A lot of work has gone in to understanding why and where the ‘missing heat’ is going.”

Recent research has shown that the subsurface waters of the Pacific Ocean have been absorbing a lot of the heat that has been building up in Earth’s climate system thanks to humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases. But how has this been happening, for how long, and when might it stop?

A study the journal Nature Climate Change found that unusually strong trade winds along the equator for the past few decades have been pushing heat down into the Pacific ocean while also bringing cooler water to the surface. In other words, the Pacific Ocean has been acting as a giant air conditioner for the planet, temporarily offsetting warming from increasing greenhouse gases.

The work by Thompson and her colleagues supports this view and shows that the same process has occurred in the past. It also shows that the opposite has occurred: When the trade winds have been weak in the past, warming has accelerated.

One important take-away is that this has been a see-sawing pattern. So the current bout of strong trade winds inevitably will end, thereby weakening the air conditioner and allowing heat locked away in the Pacific Ocean for the past two decades to pour back out into the atmosphere. This would bring an end to the current warming slowdown and usher in a period of record high temperatures.

As seen from the air, Tarawa is a typical tropical atoll — a small chain of coral-fringed, palm-covered islands sheltering a shallow, turquoise lagoon. Along with the other low-lying atolls and islands that make up the Republic of Kiribati, Tarawa is on the front lines of climate change, thanks to a rise in sea level that has already encroached on arable land and contaminated drinking water supplies. So it is perhaps fitting that clues about that missing heat have come from there.

“Like trees, corals grow in annual bands, Thompson says. “And just as scientists use tree rings to chart variations in rainfall over time, changes in ocean chemistry are recorded in the annual bands of corals.”

Tarawa atoll is shaped like backward C, with the lagoon facing toward the west. You can see it in this satellite image:
coral

Tarawa Atoll, as seen by a NASA satellite. The lagoon is protected by the small islands that surround it on all sides — except the western side, which is open to the sea. (Source: NASA)

The trade winds blow from the opposite direction, the east. In the image above, that would be from the upper right corner.

“This means the lagoon is typically calm, shielded from the winds. But every once in awhile there is a burst of wind from the west,” Thompson says.

From that direction, there is no protection from the islands. So when winds blow from the west, the shallow lagoon gets unusually turbulent.

Thompson picks up the story:

When this happens, sediments at the bottom of the lagoon are stirred up. Trace metals in those sediments, particularly the element manganese, are kicked up too and released into the sea water. Coral that grows nearby doesn’t know any better. It’s just growing and incorporates manganese into its skeleton in place of calcium.

So those occasional wind bursts from the west leave corals relatively enriched in manganese. And by going through a coral’s growth rings one by one, Thompson was able to reconstruct a year-by-year record of how the winds were blowing in that part of the tropical Pacific.

“It turns out that the bursts of westerly winds that the coral is recording are related to the trade winds, which blow from the opposite direction,” Thompson says. When the trade winds are strong, they are a hindrance to wind bursts from the west, thereby suppressing them. When the trade winds are weak, those westerly wind bursts are more common.

So by charting the spikes of manganese in her coral sample, Thompson saw a see-sawing pattern of trade wind strength in the Pacific stretching from 1894, when the coral began growing, to 1982, when it was removed from the water. (It has been stored safely ever since.)

That record shows that trade winds were weak from 1910 to 1940. This was a period when the average temperature of the Earth was rising — and at a rate that was faster than can be explained by the greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere at the time. In other words, during this period weaker trade winds were driving less heat into the subsurface waters of the Pacific.

Between 1940 and 1970, however, Thompson’s record shows that the trade winds were stronger. This coincides with a relatively cool period. And that makes perfect sense: Those stronger winds were pushing more heat from the atmosphere into the deep.

For now, the trade winds remain strong. “Those winds have been giving us a reprieve — but only temporary,” Thompson says. “The winds will inevitably weaken, and when that happens, our study suggests warming will accelerate.”

Was the record warmth in 2014 a sign that this is already starting to occur? Probably not. It turns out that a cycle of strong trade winds lasts about 30 years. And this current cycle started in 2000, so we’re about 15 years in.

“We cannot cannot anticipate the exact timing of when the cycle will change,” Thompson says. “But we can say that it will likely be in next one to one and half decades.”

Click here for an interview I did with Diane Thompson on How on Earth, KGNU radio’s science show. 

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  • OWilson

    Ok, I’ll bite.

    For this headline to be true, NASA and NOAA must dismiss their own satellite record of the last 35 years, and instead rely on instrumental records that, purport to have accurate temperature data cross the globe from 1880. (polar, tundra, desert and ocean regions account for the vast percentage of the earth).

    Why would they dismiss their own satellite record?

    Well, agencies that require funding from politicians who are “true believers” are one possibility. Scientists who’s reputations, publication opportunities, funding and career paths are dependent on their projections coming true, are another.

    Then, of course, there is politics. Satellite data shows a pause in warming, and no statistically significant warming over the entire period, so it’s not politically correct (or expedient).

    In any event, a few hundredths of a degree difference celebrated across the media with words like “Hottest”, “Sizzling”, (so, what’s the margin of error anyway?) leaves this science lover cold.

    And leaning ever further away from the conventional wisdom on this subject.

    • Leslie Graham

      “agencies that require funding”
      Oh perleese.If you really can’t resist at least go to a denier-porn blog and spew your pathetic slander there..
      This is a grown-ups blog.

      • OWilson

        Yep, sounds pretty grown up to me :)

        • marque2

          No real response, just Ad Homonym attack. He is a typical member of the AGW religion.

          • Dano2

            o AGW “believers” are engaged in a religion, orthodoxy, sheep, groupthink, or anything of the sort [2 points]

            https://www.facebook.com/ClimateDenialistTalkingPointGame

            Best,

            D

          • Bill
          • OWilson

            The science I was taught welcomed skepticism, but not today.

            Human nature has not really evolved much from the days of Socrates, Copernicus and Galileo.
            (Or even 1930’s Germany, 1950’s USSR.)

            Die Wissenschaft ist angesiedelt!!

          • Dano2

            Denialists aren’t skeptics. Especially the innumerate ones.

            Best,

            D

          • Bill

            WHAT IS THE “AGW” I keep seeing?

          • marque2

            ‘A’ stands for Anthropogenic which means “originating from human activities” AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming.

          • Bill

            Oh , thank you Marque2.

          • Bill

            http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

            Read what NASA has to say and tell me GHGs warm the earth.

          • marque2

            Of course green house gasses warm the earth. That was never in dispute. What is in dispute is that added CO2 will somehow cause massive positive feedbacks, which will cause Earth to look like Venus. That is just scare BS to get more funding and government control.

            Reality is, all the CO2 we could pump into the air will raise our average earth temps about 1deg C

          • Bill

            Actually NASA’s report states clearly, insulating GHGs in the air will block out more heart than they will trap (23% blocked vs 5% trapped in). It is impossible to warm the earth by blocking out the sun’s heat.

            The “Trapping” Greenhouse effect, is powered by the infrared heat given off by the earth after it is warmed by the incoming sun heat. This transference from sun heat into earth radiated infrared heat is controlled by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. YOUTUBE has some good vids on this.

            The law states that any change in the temperature of an infrared emitter will cause a change in the amount of heat given off by the emitter equal to the change taken to its Fourth Power! In other words any change creates a much bigger change in emittance radiation.

            i.e., if the earth’s surface temperature drops by 2% say. Then the Law tells us that the radiant heat given off by the earth’s surface will drop by 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16%.

            Likewise, if its temperature rises by 2%, then the radiation given off by the earth will rise 16%!

            Though CO2 is not a very effective insulating Greenhouse gas, any additional amount of CO2 in the air will keep out more heat and so lower the earth’s temperature, making a much larger drop in radiant emissions thus, reducing the “Trapping” Greenhouse Effect.

            You have to remember the Greenhouse effect has TWO faces, one cooling and one warming.

            You have to look at the Blocking and Trapping effect of the insulating GHG to know what the heat will be.

            So it’s the NET effect of these two that decides whether the GHG is warming or cooling the earth. And it will always be a cooling, given:

            A. the Sun gives off so much more heat than the earth, and

            B. the heat given off by the earth is governed by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. Only a small 5% of the sun’s energy the earth receives is given off as heat currently.

            Remember the Greenhouse Effect has TWO factors on temperature, one blocking heat and, one Trapping heat:

            1. The insulating GHG blocks out incoming sun heat cooling the earth.

            and

            2. The heat that makes it down to the surface of the earth, warms the earth which gives off some of that heat as infrared, which as it heads out into space is reflected back by the insulating GHG.

            The first effect cools the earth by 23%, the second raises the temperature by 5%. Thus the NET effect is an 18% cooling effect on earth temperatures.

      • Bill

        Then state, as an adult, the argument you think challenge his opinion, and cite where you got the facts.

        Don’t just blather,

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

        Go to this NASA web page and read about the greenhouse effect and how GHG absorb 23% of incoming solar heat and so cool the earth.

    • Jeff W Greene

      Another cherry picker….. your disinformation campaign is getting old and I can smell your karma from here.!

      • OWilson

        The only thing that smells, is the way the rigorous scientific method is being compromised by “climate scientists”, who are to science what chiropractors are to medicine.

        • lmanningok

          OWilson: I’m curious about why climate-change deniers are so adamant that human activity isn’t a problem. Even if human actions were contributing to global warming only in a small way compared to natural cycles, global warming is such a devastating change to all life on earth, shouldn’t we humans make every effort to at least SLOW our contribution to the process while science studies ways to adapt to the earth’s inevitable warming?

          • OWilson

            You seem sincere, but you are already so brainwashed into name calling that you don’t even notice it anymore, but I’ll try to answer your questions.

            Firstly, nobody has ever denied the climate is changing. Always has, always will.

            So, already we have to get past a straw dog argument. So a lie at the beginning of the debate like, “Why are wife beaters so adamant….” is not a very scientific way to start a debate.

            Your second point that global warming (at the current rate, 0.32 degrees over the 36 years of satellite data, an increase of 0.78 by the year 2100) would be such a “devastating change” is not a logical conclusion.

            And if, as you say, human actions are just a part of the warming, it makes even less sense to give sovereignty, control of income distribution, and the energy sources that drive our society’s prosperity over to some nameless unelected global bureaucrats at the U.N., who have failed dramatically at their core mission, which is preventing wars and nuclear proliferation, so that they can meddle with the climate to keep it a 2 degrees by century end, which is actually HIGHER than the present trend.
            You might want to look up the observed, empirical trend, and compare it to the many flawed projections by the U.N. A good example would be the U.N. 1990 FAR.

            And that, my friend is why we call it a scam, and other uncharitable names.

          • lmanningok

            Unfortunately, your “debating” techniques are so filled with unnecessary vitriol that it’s difficult to consider the merits of your arguments. My question WAS sincere, but after reading your nasty answer, I could care less about your opinion. And don’t presume to call me your friend…my friends aren’t arrogant losers.

          • OWilson

            My apologies. I thought you wanted facts, not warm and fuzzy feelings.

          • Dano2

            Facts are facts. You don’t get your own facts.

            Best,

            d

          • Bill

            http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

            I go with NASA’s facts. What other facts are there?
            NASA’s satellite and ground based data are absolutes.

            GHGs block out more heat than they keep in, so the cool the earth, period.

            Unless you can prove NASA is lying, what argument can you make Dano2?

          • lmanningok

            And my apologies to you for calling you a loser. The “arrogant,” however, stands. Can we please have a civilized exchange without the snark? It really does make you sound like an insecure middle-school boy jostling for a higher rung on the bullying hierarchy. I would like to think I’m conversing with an educated, intelligent adult. As for your facts, please cite your sources so I can consider them as such and not just as your opinions.

          • OWilson

            If what you say is true, surely there would be no point in any continuation of a discussion? Unless….

            In any event this “arrogant, insecure, jostling, middle school, bullying boy” is under no obligation to make you feel good about yourself.

            Try a shrink, and be prepared to pay. :)

          • Bill

            http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

            Read NASA reprot and tell me your thoughts on what NASA has to say.

          • lmanningok

            Thanks for that article, Bill. As an educated layperson, I could understand just the overall teaching (although the graph helped me visualize the breakdown of radiation loss and gain). Our planet is COMPLICATED! But better that than the dead red one. I’ve saved the article for further study.

          • Bill

            Hi Imanningok,

            Your welcome. The news media doesn’t give much coverage to the other side of the debate, even when it is NASA presenting the facts.

            YOUTUBE.com never started out as a news media, but it can’t be censored so much of the stuff you can’t see on TV is there. Congresssional testimony and documentaries from Europe on Global warming.

            If you have time you might want to watch this vid.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJ-1iL9g8nU

            It covers a wide swath of material in 1:15 minutes, but it is pretty interesting.

          • Bill

            Hi Imanningok,

            Here is the experiment that proves GHG warming of the earth is impossible, and in violation of the Law of Conservation of Energy.

            Put three average size fish tanks in line end-to-end.

            Put scientific thermometers in each tank.

            Fill them with CO2 gas and put an air-tight lid on top of them to keep the gas from getting out of the fish tank

            Place an earth globe at one end of the fish tanks.

            At the other end of the fish tanks, place a DIRECTIONAL RADIANT HEATER (DHR) and aim it at the globe at the other end of the fish tanks.

            Lastly place two more scientific thermometers. One between the DRH and the tanks, and one between the globe and the tanks.

            Finally get an INFRARED camera and set it up aimed at the fish tanks.

            Now we are set to run the experiment.

            This experiment simulates the sun and earth atmosphere’s GHG effect on heat entering the earths atmosphere.

            Now turn on the heater and watch the camera monitor.

            As soon as the heater is activated, you will see in the camera that the gas in the first tank starts to glow! Then the second tank starts to glow, then the third tank starts to glow in the infrared wavelength.

            The CO2 gas is absorbing the incoming radiant heat given off by the heater, and then emits it into the room. If you move the camera around the experiment you’ll see that the gas is emitting heat into all the areas of the room.

            This means that some of the heat in the DHR’s heat stream is being taken OUT of the heat stream and re-directed, by the CO2 gas, into the room and so away from our simulated earth cooling the heat stream, and so cooling the earth.

            This cooling can now be verified by looking at the scientific thermometer readings.

            Moving from the thermometer at the globe to the one at the heater, we can see that each thermometer show more heat energy is present. The greatest amount of heat is at the thermometer next to the heater, and the least amount of heat is found at the globe.

            The Law of Conservation of Energy tells us that the total amount of energy in any system MUST ALWAYS REMAIN THE SAME!!!
            Energy cannot be destroyed nor created (First Law of Thermo-Dynamics)

            The temperature of the heat stream of the DRH fell by the exact amount of heat that was re-directed out into the room by the GHG CO2 gas. NO heat energy was created nor destroyed, it was all conserved. It just didn’t all get to the globe.

            The earth’s atmosphere does the same thing.

            Heat enters the atmosphere warming the gases, particulate matter, and vapors in the atmosphere, these then glow and give off radiant heat energy into the environment. Most of it gets shot out into space away from the earth, while some of it makes its way down to the earth.

            Now here’s a question.

            We know that GHGs are insulation gases, but they are not PERFECT THERMAL INSULATORS.

            What if they were?

            What would happen to the earth if we put a PERFECT THERMAL INSULATOR into the air? An insulator that didn’t allow any of the sun’s radiant energy to pass through to the earths surface?

            Tell me what you think would happen?

            Would we get warmer, or colder?

            Remember, Clouds are the MOST insulating things in the sky, so when the sky is overcast in clouds, does it get warmer or colder?

          • marque2

            The earth has been much warmer than today. In fact it has been warmer in the last 2000 years than today. CO2 levels have been much higher than today, without showing great heat rises as well. Plants grow optimally at about 1200 ppm, so it is quite probable, that today’s CO2 levels are too low.

            I don’t really understand this blame humanity for everything, and blame us for stuff that isn’t happening as well – just in case it happens. “Stop drinking lemonade, because it might cause an Asteroid to crash into the earth. I just have these studies that are suppositions based on nothing but the belief that this hypothesis is true to being with with, but lets stop drinking just in case. “

          • Dano2

            Likely false, irrelevant, false, false.

            Best,

            D

          • marque2

            False False False False,

            You are in a total state of denial, brainwashed by your religious leaders.

            It is so sad you can no longer think for yourself, and must spew falsehoods in the name of your human death cult.

            Best Regards,

            M

          • Dano2

            Your statements are still false.

            Best,

            D

          • lmanningok

            As I’ve said, I’m an educated layperson with no specific expertise in, well, just about everything, including earth’s climate. What’s your professional background, particularly anything that takes you above educated-layperson status. I’m not being sarcastic: As a skeptic, I like to know the source of information before weighing it.

          • Bill

            http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

            This is why Imanningok.

            GHGs are opaque to infrared light. All the surface heat the earth has comes from the sun. Meaning, before sunlight can warm the earth, it has to pass though the earth’s atmosphere, which is filled with GHGs, which block out 23% of the sun’s heat.

            That’s 356 watts per meter square worth of heat blocked out. The Greenhouse effect only traps 11.5 watts per meter square, or 5%.

            When that 11.5 becomes bigger than the 356, then GHGs are warming the planet.

            It is the NET effect of GHG in the air, not just the greenhouse effect alone.

          • lmanningok

            That explains the T-shirts with the 356 reference I saw at the conferences. Are you the Bill who was so extensively interviewed?

          • Bill

            No that wasn’t me. WE can never approach the 356 threshold.

            The Greenhouse effects warming phase is controlled by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

            The Radiant Laws tell that when an object is warmed by the sun or other heat source, it gives off an exacting amount of infrared radiation relative to the temperature of the body that is warmed.

            Stefan Boltzmann Law tells us that any change in the temperature will create a much larger change in the amount of radiation being emitted equal to the amount of the change taken to its FORTH POWER.

            i.e. if the earths temperature dropped 2%, then the heat radiation given off by the earths surface would drop by 16%. That’s 2% taken to the Forth Power, or 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16%

            More GHG molecules would absorb more incoming sun heat and so lessen the amount of heat given off by the earth by a much bigger number than the drop in temperature due to the more GHG absorbing the incoming heat.

      • Bill

        Then read NASA’s web page attacking man made CO2 global warming.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

  • timallard

    We’re like an old-fashioned icebox and the glaciers and ice-sheets are indeed similar to the ice in the top and when that cold storage from the ice-ages is gone this place will jump to 3-5C no problem and sucking your thumb won’t help.

    When the planet’s living systems and the ice-melting catch up to 400-ppm the ocean is 2-3C warmer and 25m/82ft higher to match the geologic history.

    Unlike the denial Cimate Zombie posted, most of the heat from this “pause” has gone into the ocean, the Argo buoys show heat getting to the bottom of the ocean quite readily, bet you didn’t know that.

    The planet is holding 34% more watts/square-meter than 1990 so how can it be “cooling down” when this chart shows clearly the slope on the measurements has increased? The only way is that the ocean is taking up the slack …
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html

    • Bill

      Hi timallard,

      I don’t disagree with the role of the oceans role in abating climate change by absorbing warmth from teh atmosphere and from the sun. However, the primary focus is two fold. One being true oceans work to abate climate change; and the other being faulse

      CO2 in the atmosphere warms the planet.

      While there is no disagreement over the role of GHGs in the Greenhouse Effect. That being GHG absorbing heat given off by the earth and redirecting it back at the earth.

      The argument ignores the FACT that GHG in the air absorb 23% of the incoming sun heat, cooling the earth.
      while only absorbing 5% of the outgoing heat

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

      This means 365 watts per meter square of the sun’s heat is blocked out by GHGs, while only 11.5 watts per meter square are kept in by GHGs.

      365 is a much bigger number than 11.5!

      The overall NET effect is GHG in the atmosphere cools the earth more than it warms it, significantly so too.

  • Tom Terrific

    ~”We, as a species,
    are in the unique situation
    of not only being able to witness,
    but also being the cause of our own EXTINCTION”~

    • Bill

      Everyone won’t die, just a lot will.
      Exaggeration doesn’t help your argument.

  • OWilson

    “It really is official now”, that my post below was right on the money, as usual.

    This just in: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2915061/

    ..”The claim made headlines around the world, but yesterday it emerged that GISS’s analysis – based on readings from more than 3,000 measuring stations worldwide – is subject to a margin of error. Nasa admits this means it is far from certain that 2014 set a record at all.

    Yet the NASA press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.

    As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted NASA thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent. However, when asked by this newspaper whether he regretted that the news release did not mention this, he did not respond.
    Another analysis, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, drawn from ten times as many measuring stations as GISS, concluded that if 2014 was a record year, it was by an even tinier amount.”..

    You’re welcome :)

    • L Rowan McKnight

      Why are you showing us an article from a tabloid? Not exactly a reliable source.

      • OWilson

        A tabloid?

        They uncovered criminal behavior on the part of the British Secretary of State For “Climate Change”, whatever that is. He got 8 months in jail.

        I can see why you wouldn’t be impressed! :)

      • Matthew Slyfield

        By the way, tabloid refers to the physical format of a paper. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabloid_%28newspaper_format%29

        Despite the reputation created by the Weekly World News and it’s ilk, most of the British tabloids are serious papers, and there are even a few serious tabloids in the US, such as the Chicago Sun Times. http://chicago.suntimes.com/

        • marque2

          Weekly World news is a now defunct (has a web presence only) US newspaper, until very recently was owned by America Media Inc, the company that owns National Enquirer.

          I would say WWN has more in common with the NASA report than most people figure.

      • Matthew Slyfield

        You want a better source, how about the NCDC.

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/briefings/201501.pdf

        Check out page 5.

        NOAA data puts the probability of 2014 being the warmest year at 48%. NASA GISS at only 38%.

      • Bill

        Hi Rowan,
        While I NEVER quote a newspaper, only scientific sources. If a newspaper is quoting a reliable scientific source with a valid history, then I don’t see why the messenger hurts the message. Cite what it said that you disagree with so we can talk about it.

    • Dano2
      • Matthew Slyfield

        That proves his point, it doesn’t disprove it.

        • Dano2

          His point is he doesn’t understand the probabilities as assigned, so you are correct.

          Best,

          D

      • OWilson

        You mean because I’m not n Al Gore’s side?
        Sorry!

        • Dano2

          Comical symptoms of Gore Derangement Syndrome aside, you were duped because you are innumerate.

          Best,

          D

    • marque2

      You forgot to note, not all datasets in the world from last year have been finalized. This result is from only about 10% of the potentially available data – and I wouldn’t be surprised if that 10% were cherry picked and, of course, homogenized.

      • Dano2

        False.

        Best,

        D

        • marque2

          Ha, ha ha, ha ha. It is right in the NASA report that they only used 10% of the dataset. As well as they only have a 38% confidence that 2014 is the hottest year, though it is the hottest year.

          False back to you.

          Best regards,

          M

          • Dano2

            I’ve already been over this downthread and pre-bunked “your” assertion. You are in error.

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            Not so fast.
            Your one liners are not science. lol

          • Dano2

            No science is needed to point out your innumeracy.

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            It’d be great if you really practiced your “science in a sound bite” schtick.

            Look at the money we’d all save if you warmers would stop spending billions on studies to prove what you already absolutely knew years ago, namely, that “the science is settled”.

            Lol

          • Dano2

            You can’t hide your innumeracy by deflection and hand-flapping, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!1

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            Anytime!

  • really??

    Tim Ball put it this way:

    The analogy I use is that my car is not running very well, so I’m going to ignore the engine, which is the Sun, and I am going to ignore the transmission, which is water vapour, and I am going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel, which is the human-produced CO2. The science is that bad. If you haven’t understood the climate system, all the components, the cosmic rays, the solar, the CO2, the water vapour, the clouds and put it all together, then your model isn’t worth anything.

  • really??
  • really??

    no one is saying climate change is not real. we are saying that the human contribution is being way over stated. from 1100 to 1300 ad the average world temp higher than today. from 1500 to 1700 ad the world was in a mini ice age. and we have been slowly warming since mid 1700’s. still not as high as 1200 ad. and the period of warming has been slower this time than from 1000 to 1200 ad.

    It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between global temp and sunspot activity.

    • Dano2

      False, false, false.

      Best,

      D

      • really??

        check the facts. they don’t lie. Too many people today are ignoring facts.

        • Dano2

          Facts are facts. You don’t get your own facts.

          Best,

          D

          • really??

            My facts? I didn’t do the research. I didn’t write the peer reviewed papers. But I can read. And I Know the supporters of man-made global warming have been caught repeatedly releasing false and bias edited reports. You cant just edit out the facts that don’t agree with your opinion. that is not science.

          • Dano2

            Climategate!

            Drink!

            Best,

            D

  • Matthew Slyfield

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/briefings/201501.pdf

    2014 may be the warmest year, but it’s probably not. While the precise temperature value is marginally the highest, those values carry uncertainty, and the uncertainty is greater than the difference between the nominal temp for 2014 and the next several contenders for warmest year.

    Once you account for the uncertainty, The probability that 2014 was the warmest year on record is 48% by NOAA’s analysis and only 38% by the NASA GISS analysis.

    • Dano2

      Statistical innumeracy is rarely compelling argument.

      Best,

      D

      • Matthew Slyfield

        Perhaps you could explain exactly where I went wrong? Especially since the probabilities I stated are taken directly from the NCDC document I linked to (page 5).

        • Dano2

          Let’s look at it this way: what year has a higher % probability?

          BTW, I used the same graphic as your ‘page 5’ upthread.

          Best,

          D

          • Matthew Slyfield

            Let’s instead look at it this way instead: If the probability for 2014 doesn’t top 50% it is flat wrong to call it the warmest year ever.

          • Dano2

            Yes indeed, you are still in error.

            The answer to my question is “no other year”.

            Best,

            D

          • Matthew Slyfield

            That still ignores the fact that given that no one year scores better than 50% the truth is probably that none of them are any warmer than the others.

          • Dano2

            Um, exactly wrong. You are still in error.

            The 4 years are spread out around a total of 100% probability. The 4 years get to split 100% of all probability.

            The biggest piece of the pie – the largest probability – is 2014.

            HTH

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            I love you guys, really.

            We never accused you (and Al) of being ineffective dedicated soldiers for your cause.

            You should take pride, and a lot of credit for being able to perpetrate the scam.

            Only one proviso. As your models collapse, and the alarmist rhetoric sounds more like communist sour grapes, your work will get a lot harder.

            Which gives me some relief from the pain I feel for what has happened to the rigorous scientific method.

            The smart money is already hedging their bets.

            But somebody will have to be left to turn out the lights. Thank you.

          • Dano2

            Flap your hands to hide your innumeracy – good plan!

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            The great thing is, I don’t have to do a thing.

            Truth is very obstinate.

            Every month that passes, Mother Nature, laughs at you.

            It took 70 years for the USSR to collapse.

            I’ll give Global Warming, or whatever they are calling it these days, another year at most.

            See you here in 2 years D?

          • Dano2

            The globe continues to warm, but whatever makes you have comfortable fee-fees.

            Best,

            D

          • OWilson

            Yeah, but the contortions you guys have to perform to make it appear that way, get weirder and funnier.
            The latest is for NASA and NOAA to ignore their own satellite data, when they announce the latest Armageddon warning.
            Now how desperate is that?

          • Dano2

            No one is ignoring satellite data, thanks for parroting the talking point tho!

            <3

            Best,

            D

          • Bill

            The Globe has been warming for 45,000 years.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQSHxY5ZR6w

          • Dano2

            False.

            http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/3/11/1426105992942/f08052f8-96c4-46f7-a375-6a22e2602c49-494×720.gif

            Simon L. Lews & Mark A. Maslin. (2015) Defining the Anthropocene. Nature, 519: 171–180 doi:10.1038/nature14258

            Best,

            D

          • Bill

            NO he’s right about that. If you admit the possibility of any happening is less than 50%, then you are admitting the chances that it isn’t, or won’t happen is greater than the possibility that it will.

          • Dano2

            Innumeracy – rarely compelling.

            Best,

            D

      • Bill

        Then make one, don’t just disagree that tells us nothing.

        Start by rading NASA’s report and comment on it.

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

  • really??

    No one is saying climate change is not real. We are saying that the human contribution is being way over stated. From 1100 to 1300 A.D. the average world temp higher than today. From 1500 to 1700 A.D. the world was in a mini ice age. Temps have been slowly warming since mid 1700’s. Still not as high as 1200 A.D. and the period of warming has been slower this time than from 1000 to 1200 ad.

    It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between global temp and sunspot activity.

  • really??

    No one is saying climate change is not real. We are saying that the human contribution is being way over stated. From 1100 to 1300 A.D. the average world temp higher than today. From 1500 to 1700 A.D. the world was in a mini ice age. Temps have been slowly warming since mid 1700’s. Still not as high as 1200 A.D. and the period of warming has been slower this time than from 1000 to 1200 ad.
    I agree that pollution is bad. I am all for alternative energy if it is economically viable. Thorium based reactors are a safe nuclear option that makes sense. The gov balks at them because they can’t get weapons grade plutonium from them. What happened in japan could not happen with a thorium reactor. the way they work you could just walk away, and the power plant would just shut itself down. no meltdown.

    • Bill

      I’m not saying that, and neither is NASA

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

      GHGs block out 23% of incoming heat from the sun and only trap 5% of outgoing heat from the earth. That’s 356 watts per meter square vs. 11.5 watts per meter square.

      Where does NASA’s satellite data claim GHGs are warming the earth.

      The NET effect of GHGs is that the are cooling the earth, not warming it

  • really??

    It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between global temp and sunspot activity.

    • Dano2

      Look at the disconnect after 1978. You were duped with this graphic which needs a longer time period.

      Here, here, here.

      HTH

      Best,

      D

  • Jerry Bushman

    How do they take the global temperature? There are so many variables. The temperature can vary as much as 10 degrees in the neighboring city.

  • Glenn

    Excuse me but I thought heat rises at least I remember one science teacher telling me that. But I guess that all changes with a good gust of wind. Oh what shall we do were all gonna die, What hyperbole!

  • John

    Climate change deniers seem to be changing their tunes a little bit as of late. As they are forced to accept the fact that human activity on Earth is contributingto the rise of global temperatures, they’re changing their argument from whether it is happening (Undeniably) to whether we should be worried about it(also undeniably). Human Society isbased upon stability. We established thebeginnings of Human Society during the agricultural revolution (around 10
    000BC) when we moved from a more Nomadic life and established communities which could feed themselves. The less stable
    the climate becomes, the less stable your food supply will grow as a parallel. Also, as technology and globalization has increased and fewer Farmers can produce more, we are losing more and more of
    our agricultural land infrastructure to development as losing more young farmers to rock bottom wages. At a time when North America should ramp up its farming infrastructure by protecting farmland from development, and encouraging more people to take up farming
    as the age of producers grows ever older, we do nothing and argue. IT will be sad if all the hard work it’s taken us to build human society is thrown away by not preparing for the future.Climate change has the potential to bring us to our knees as food supplies become unstable followed with that the total breakdown of law and order of Human Society. What can we do? Spread equality and education, start working together as a species to free ourselves of fossil
    fuels as our primary energy source, let’s regard climate change as the defining challenge of our times. You don’t wait until the heart of winter to collect your firewood, why let climate change kill us without preparing and working towards beating it. Make being cleaner an industry to profit from. To any that say we can’t afford to change economically, keep in mind the economy will mean very little to you when
    your food and clean water run out.

    • Barbara Passero

      John, Thank you very much for your logical, forward-thinking comment. The deniers are sad, lost people, who like Nero, fiddle while the earth burns. I’ve often wondered whether the deniers on this site and others are just apps or simply dupes set up by billion dollar oil and gas corporations to make the sensible look like nonsense. Are you aware of Biodiversity for a Livable Climate (http://www.bio4climate.org)? Their Nov. 21, 2014 conference Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming gave a lot of people hope. Bio4Climate.org is hosting two conferences in the Boston area: Feb. 20 in Fall River, MA, and May 3 in Cambridge, MA. Thank you for your good sense. We must stay strong and positive in the face of those determined to take everyone down with them.

      • Bill

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

        NASA denys Barbara? Are the scientist and satellite data also “sad lost people”?

        Read NASA’s report and tell me what you think?

        No one denies that the Greenhouse Effect traps 5% of the outgoing earth heat, but GHGs keep out 23% of incoming heat, that is a lot more heat being kept out than kept in.

        Or is NASA lying? If so cite your sources so we can all read them.

    • Bill

      http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/EnergyBalance/page6.php

      Hi John

      As NASA’s web page makes clear, GHGs in the air block out 23% of the sun’s heat, while only trapping 5%. That’s an 18% cooling trend John. Is NASA lying?

      If they aren’t, then you are wrong. If you want to say NASA is lying, then please cite your source.

      • Dano2

        You simply do not understand if you are saying ‘cooling trend’

        Unless this is a comedy skit or Internet Performance Art?

        Best,

        D

        • Bill

          Hi Dano2,

          I’m sorry I don’t understand what you are saying.

          So let me elaborate on what I wrote above.

          GHGs are insulating gases that absorb infrared radiation, or heat as lay-persons call it.

          When the sun’s light reaches the earth’s atmosphere and tries to pass through to the earth’s surface. Some of the sun’s heat is absorbed (23% according to NASA’s measurements), by the insulating GHGs in the air and radiated back out into space. This absorption reduces the heat energy that reaches the earth by 23%. This makes the earth cooler.

          IT is similar to what happens on an overcast day. Clouds block out sunlight cooling the earth’s surface.

          Now Clouds are the most insulating thing in the air everything else pales in comparison. So the cooling effect of the trace gases in the air not anywhere near that of clouds cooling effect, but it is there, it is real and scientifically measurable.

          The fact that clouds cool the earth is proof that CO2 cools the earth too.

          The GHGs, like CO2, are insulating gases.

          Clouds are made of insulating gases (water vapor) but in ultra high concentration.
          Both do the same thing though, they insulate!

          It is just the amount of insulation they provide that is the difference.

          Clouds do what insulators do, so does CO2, clouds just do it better.

          • Dano2

            chuckle

            Me loves me my Internet Performance Art!

            Best,

            D

          • Bill

            Thank you Dano2 I do try to educate and entertain.

            Here is the experiment that proves GHG warming of the earth is impossible, and in violation of the Law of Conservation of Energy.

            Put three average size fish tanks in line end-to-end.

            Put scientific thermometers in each tank.

            Fill them with CO2 gas and put an air-tight lid on top of them to keep the gas from getting out of the fish tank

            Place an earth globe at one end of the fish tanks.

            At the other end of the fish tanks, place a DIRECTIONAL RADIANT HEATER and aim it at the globe at the other end of the fish tanks.

            Lastly place two more scientific thermometers. One between the D.R.Heater and the tanks, and one between the globe and the tanks.

            Finally get an INFRARED camera and set it up aimed at the fish tanks.

            Now we are set to run the experiment.

            This experiment simulates the sun and earth’s atmosphere’s GHG effect on heat entering the earths atmosphere.

            Now turn on the heater and watch the camera monitor.

            As soon as the heater is activated, you will see in the camera that the gas in the first tank starts to glow! Then the second tank starts to glow, then the third tank starts to glow in the infrared wavelength.

            The CO2 gas is absorbing the incoming radiant heat given off by the heater, and then emits it into the room. If you move the camera around the experiment you’ll see that the gas is emitting heat into all the areas of the room.

            This means that some of the heat in the Directional Radiant Heater’s heat stream is being taken OUT of the heat stream and re-directed by, the CO2 gas, into the room and so, away from our simulated earth cooling the heat stream, and so cooling the earth.

            This cooling can now be verified by looking at the scientific thermometer readings. Moving from the thermometer between our globe and the tanks to the thermometer between the heater and the tanks, we can see that each thermometer show more heat energy is present. The greatest amount of heat is at the thermometer next to the heater, and the least amount of heat is found at the thermometer between the globe and the tanks.

            The Law of Conservation of Energy tells us that the total amount of energy in any system MUST ALWAYS REMAIN THE SAME!!!

            Energy cannot be destroyed nor created (First Law of Thermo-Dynamics)

            The temperature of the heat stream of the DRH fell by the exact amount of heat that was re-directed out into the room by the GHG CO2 gas. NO heat energy was created nor destroyed, it was all conserved. It just all didn’t get to the globe.

            The earth’s atmosphere does the same thing.
            Heat enters the atmosphere warming the gases, particulate matter, and vapors in the atmosphere, these then glow and give off radiant heat energy into the environment. Most of it gets shot out into space away from the earth, while some of it makes its way down to the earth.

            Now here’s a question.

            We know that GHGs are insulation gases, but they are not PERFECT THERMAL INSULATORS.

            What if they were?

            What would happen to the earth if we put a PERFECT THERMAL INSULATOR into the air? An insulator that didn’t allow any of the sun’s radiant energy to pass through to the earths surface?

            Tell me what you think wold happen Dano2?

            Would we get warmer, or colder?

            Remember Clouds are the MOST insulating things in the sky, so when the sky is overcast in clouds, does it get warmer or colder?

          • Dano2

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            Best,

            D

  • KonradAjster

    Znanstvena utopija ali
    zavajanje ljudstva?

    Roberto Lamego Prosimo,
    glejte to: Znanstveniki: Človeška dejavnost je potisnilo Zemljo presega štiri
    od devetih “planetarnih meja”. http://wapo.st/1xtzGLK Poglejski prevod

    Papir, trdi, da
    smo že prestopili štiri “planetarne meje,” vključno s stopnjami
    ogljikovega dioksida in stopnjo izumrtja.

    Znanstveniki pač morajo nekaj pisati da opravičijo
    njihove velike osebne dohodke!

    Če pogledamo nekaj desetletij nazaj, so nas strašili, da vode
    vse bolj zmanjkuje in da bomo čez dobrih deset let imeli vode le še za pitje,
    ker se bodo reke dokončno izsušile in vse so prikazali z znanstveni izračuni, a
    kot vsi vemo je leto 2013 in 2014 bilo toliko poplav po vsem svetu, ko
    zgodovina še ni zaznala!

    Enako so znanstveniki dokazovali pred dobrim štiridesetimi
    leti, da bo nafte zmanjkalo in da bo človeštvo ostalo brez energije po točnih
    znanstvenih izračunih in to najmanj čez dobrih 25 let, a danes po toliko več
    letih je nafte na svetovnem tržišču toliko, da ne vejo kam bi jo lahko še prodajali
    pa so naftne družbe zato v velikih finančnih težavah!

    Medtem tudi pišejo, da je leto 2014 bilo zaznano, da je bilo
    eno najtoplejših let, medtem ko vsi vemo, da je bilo najbolj deževno in Sonca
    skoraj nismo videli niti v avgustu, ko je običajno največ sončnih dni v letu, a
    po zimi pa je južni tečaj v letu 2014 bil
    zamrznil in so zato tudi najbolj opremljene ruske ledolomilce morale
    zamrznjene počakati vse do spomladi, da so se lahko rešile ledu!

    Lahko bi našteval še in še, naštel sem le tisto kar nam je
    vsem ostalo v spominu pred nekaj leti!

    Pisal sem o znanstveni zablodi »Toplogrednih plinov«, ko je
    nerazumno prikazano, da bi toplogredni plini ogrevali ozemlje ker bi zatirali
    Sonce in to vsak otrok razume, da Zemljo ogreva le Sonce in ne oblaki toplogrednih
    plinov, saj Zemlja ne oddaja toplote, temveč le Sončni žarki!

    Toliko le na kratko o znanstvenih zablodah ali zavajanj nas
    delavnih ljudi!

  • Tom Yulsman

    Wow, I go away for a week and this is what happens? 😉

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ImaGeo

ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.

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