Monday, November 23, 2009

Starting from the beginning: CO2, global temperature & ocean acidification

First, the Keeling Curve of atmospheric CO2 concentrations measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory (above).

Next, the graph of global temperatures (left) produced by
NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The red line is air CO2 levels, the dark blue dots are seawater CO2 levels, and the light blue are the ocean pH, which goes down as acidification due to CO2 goes up, in accordance with predictions.

Over on the Daily Mail debate board, someone asks for correlation between CO2 and ocean acidification. This is shown in the lowest of the three graphs above. It is for one point in the Pacific, in Hawaii.

He also asks for correlation between CO2 and temperature trends, which are shown in the upper graphs.

Skeptics will no doubt argue that these just represent one set of readings. There are hundreds of other sets of readings in the specialist literature, but it is impossible to display all these readings in every post.

Science is about pattern recognition. We see a pattern, we induce a relationship, and then set about trying to find evidence that is incompatible with that relationship. If the relationship argument survives a certain amount of criticism, it becomes accepted. That is the present situation regarding climate change.

However, the global warming situation is so massive, and the implications are so grave for humanity if it goes unchecked, and the necessary economic changes required are so radical that the psychic defence mechanism of denial is active in the minds of fossil fuel companies, some journalists, and a some of netizens, with the result that many ordinary people believe wrongly that there is some doubt about whether our energy habits are causing climate change.

This is not the case, but we have to make efforts to persuade ordinary people.
Before the hacking of the CCU emails, we could simply point to the authority of the scientific community. Now we have to present the argument, starting from the beginning.

Go here for a bunch of FAQs on global warming.


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