Tonight I learned a lesson and perhaps gained some understanding as to why we find ourselves in the place we are today.
It started with a BBC article posted in a FB group claiming 2020 was the hottest year ever. Nonsense stories like that are why I think the BBC should be defunded frankly. I posted a comment that as a geologist I could safely say that the BBC article was total nonsense (perhaps stronger wording but you get the gist). What I also added was a supporting comment to an enlightened soul who said that actually, CO2 levels needed to be about three times higher than the are today in order for plant life to truly thrive. I said that in fact, until human fossil fuel use, this planet had seen 140 million years of slow reduction in CO2 down to super critical levels of 180ppm. Plants start to suffocate at around 160ppm and are gone completely by about 40ppm. I also said, only once before had the atmosphere been so CO2 deficient and the planet had gone into an intense global volcanic period pushing CO2 levels back up to 4000ppm.
Of course, it didn’t take 5 minutes before some armchair environmentalist posted a ‘you are wrong’ and here is the evidence reply, along with a chart pulled from a US University page showing the last 400,000 years of CO2 volatility. A couple of others chimed in about deniers and the like…..
This is exactly why we find ourselves where we are today though isn’t it? The replier doesn’t appear to understand the difference between THOUSANDS of years and MILLIONS of years for a start which to any geologist makes him look like – well an ass to be honest. And there is the problem. Almost everyone reading this blog (not meaning any insult here) probably doesn’t have the basic knowledge to determine whether or not climate change is a problem. Yet I’m guessing many of you also have very firm opinions about it?
I have said this before but if you think you are able to decipher the complex science around the entire climate story you are better than me and it is something that my PhD research included and that I have followed with interest ever since. You can read papers that say CO2 has no impact on temperature at all and that there is no physics that supports the greenhouse effect and you can read papers that suggest quite the opposite. The latter are usually written by ‘climate scientists’ who build models (rather simplistic models if the truth be told) and who at the moment anyway, appear to have influenced more important people that the other group made of mostly of physicists, geologists and so on.
I wouldn’t propose to come and fix your plumbing. So why do you think you know enough to determine there is a climate change problem?
And in this instance, the replier actually looked infantile to anyone with even a basic geological knowledge yet to the average FB type, he was right.
What did I learn? I’m wasting my time trying to set these people right. Just wasting my time.
Back to the BBC article…. it uses average satellite data to make its claim. I think satellite data has been around maybe three decades… hardly then supporting a claim of hottest EVER. Moreover, that satellite data is modified, changed and ‘corrected’. Some of that is valid and some of it is simply to make things look warmer than they really are (post modern science drops the objective bit and instead finds evidence to support the politically influenced proposition). The data is a measure of a certain level of the atmosphere – each layer of the atmosphere warms and cools differently and do not necessarily mean anything in terms of the overall atmosphere. Many other objections but the final would be this…. we are in an inter glacial period meaning it is NATURALLY getting warmer. If it continues and a new ice age does not occur (for whatever reason), then the Earth will eventually go back to its NORMAL state of having no ice caps and higher oceans. That this would cause us or even humanity in the distant future any problem at all is sheer fiction. It has a good deal to go before the planet is even as warm as it was in the Roman period and they thrived did they not?
Finally, some of you may recall the National Geographic issue about rising seas? It had a picture of the Statue of Liberty being inundated by water. That got picked up by the journalists who write for most mainstream papers and there were horror stories about what this would mean and so on. What they forgot to mention was this… it would take 24,000 years of continuous sea level rise to reach the point depicted on that cover. Even if the sea rose 3-4 times faster, its 7000 years.
Now think back 7000 years….. still worried?