Anthropogenic Warming ?

I suggested in a recent Friends of Wisdom thread, that  I didn’t really “care” whether global warming was caused by human activity, nor even whether it was “real”. The answer to neither question changes my belief that we should be concerned enough to work out what to do in response to the facts.

That is, we can learn from history, but not in simple “we did that and caused this, therefore if we do this we can achieve that” kinda ways. Life’s just complicated enough. 

Anyway, at first glance, this graph (linked also via Jorn) looks like a pretty random distribution of historical temperature fluctuations …. until you notice the right end of the graph has years as it’s time axis, and the left has hundreds of thousands of years. No idea how good the source data or its representation are, or even whether the western equatorial pacific temperature is a representative data point, but the graph is indeed scary. It’s 400,000 years since we had a period with average temperatures like the last 5 years, and for the last 100 years we’ve been 2 or 3 standard deviations higher than the long time average for the last 1,350,000 years, a period covering several ice-ages and retreats !!!

Plenty of caveats about the distortion of a graph with such a skewed distribution of data points and axes, but it still certainly seems significant.

2 thoughts on “Anthropogenic Warming ?”

  1. “That is, we can learn from history, but not in simple “we did that and caused this, therefore if we do this we can achieve that” kinda ways.”

    Just what are the other “ways”?

    We are always looking for parallels. It’s the way our minds work. But is it at all accurate? or do we make it seem so?

    I agree, life is complicated, complicated by humans mostly.

  2. Hi Alice,

    The other ways are … to observe history to better understand underlying mechanisms, and better predict outcomes, understand the limits to predictability and devise better startegies for the probable possibilties, …

    … rather than assuming causal relationships between pre-conditions and outcomes we just happen to have seen before.

    We look for parallels and patterns, but we must remember that they may be in levels other than those we can observe.

    (BTW I notice this is the same curve that was publicised over a year ago and subjected to some US official review.)

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