How to Disprove Global Warming

Disproving a scientific theory is easy. To begin with, a theory cannot be proven; it can only be disproven. Those who want to show that global warming is false begin with a distinct advantage, because those who believe in it cannot prove it.

Disproving a scientific theory is easy.

The only thing necessary is to prove that any significant evidence about global warming is incorrect. The topic of global warming is very complex, and involves measurements of varying sorts, but all it would take to cast doubt on the entire subject would be compelling reason to doubt the essence of any important part.

That ought to be easy. Let’s begin with this: global warming is a worldwide conspiracy among scientists in order to get more grant money. Now, since this is a worldwide conspiracy, involving many thousands of scientists, there is a strong chance that one of them will slip up and spill the beans. Deniers thought they had found the smoking gun a few months back in an email from a scientist who was frustrated by political ineptitude, but his email actually proved nothing.

But wait a minute. Suppose there were a smoking gun, or many of them, proving that scientists worldwide were trying to get more grant money. That might prove that scientists were trying to get more grant money, but it says nothing about global warming. So deniers will have to move on to the science itself.

A smoking gun would prove that
scientists were trying to get more grant money,
but it says nothing about global warming.

Take a typical measurement, such as average air temperature over the globe, over extended periods of time. Here’s a chart from Planet Seed that presents temperatures since the 1860s (from research by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, in the UK). The 1860s is when we started collecting this data. (Click on the chart for a clearer picture.)

The average air temperature during the entire period is shown by the central axis labeled zero. Annual average temperatures above and below the overall average are indicated by the small dots. The thick line shows the five-year average for every point up to the early 2000s. (This gives us a visual smoothing that doesn’t jump around so much.) It is very clear that temperatures have been rising since the early 1900s. So the deniers’ goal must be to prove that either the measurements over that 140+ years have been incorrectly recorded, or that the temperature variation is not statistically significant. But simply asserting it is so disproves nothing. We await their evidence.

Let’s look at water and land temperatures now. The following graph is from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is constructed the same way the above chart of air temp is done. The dotted line represents annual variation, the solid line represents five-year averages. In addition, the green bar represents the range of possible statistical error, so the actual temperature could be a tenth of a degree warmer or cooler at any point—but not a whole degree.

Once again, we can see that land and ocean temps have been rising since the early 1900s, this time through 2010. So the task of those who want to prove the falsehood of global warming is the same—prove bad measurement or statistical non-significance.

Well, how about glaciers and snow cover? Glaciers are literally rivers of ice. Snow falls in the mountains, becomes compressed and heavy, and moves slowly downhill to the sea. Below is a Canadian National Archives photo of a Canadian glacier taken in 1919 followed by a 2005 photo of the same glacier taken by Gary Braasch (used by permission). Virtually every one of the 140,000 glaciers in the world shows the same losses. Chunks the size of Manhattan have fallen off of some glaciers. The famous snows of Kilimanjaro in Africa and the peak of Mt. Everest in Nepal are nearing a point of rock baldness. Melting in the Arctic has made the legendary Northwest Passage trade route a reality after millennia when it was totally icebound.

Water. Surely there’s no evidence. Well, perhaps, but two million people living on islands off of Bangladesh have been forced to move to the mainland as their land fell into the rising sea and was washed away. The Pacific state of Tuvalu is all but abandoned. Tides regularly wash over the few roads, and bubble up in people’s yards. Seychelles leaders are trying to work out a plan so they won’t have to abandon the islands. The same is true of Kiribati. Very low-lying areas of the US are finding themselves submerged in shallow water. Seashore homes are being moved or abandoned. Here are some pictures.

Some numbers from NASA: Arctic sea ice summer minimum: decreasing by 12% per decade; sea level: up 3.19 mm per year; global temperature: up 1.5˚ F since 1880; land ice (Greenland): 100,000,000,000 tons of ice lost per year; atmospheric CO2, 378 ppm in 2005, 393 in 2012.

A word about CO2. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, claims that CO2 cannot be causing warming because it’s not a carcinogen. Other Republican politicians have said similarly stupid things. These people get an F in grade school science. Most elementary school students today know that added CO2 and other gasses cause warming by reflecting additional heat back to the Earth. It’s called the greenhouse effect. [Addendum: Boehner recently complained that reps are stupid.]

Republican climate-change deniers
get an F in grade school science.

So, yes, it’s actually very easy for climate change deniers to find support for their beliefs. All they have to do is find some legitimate evidence that disproves almost any major aspect of what the world community of scientists continues to show. So far, not only have they utterly failed to do so, but they have pretty much proven they have no interest in actually trying. That’s a good strategy, because the evidence is massively against them. Climate change denial is an issue of ideology. The science is clear and conclusive.

[P. S.: For the continuing numbers who stumble on this post published in March of 2012, you may wish to also check out this one, and for some nice photos, this one.]

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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. When i started reading, i thought you were just like all the others.. a sceptic .. as i read on, i realizes i finally found someone that was more intelligent .. thank you .. 😉

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  2. The climate is a complex and multivariate system.
    You are a fool to assume about 150 data points out of 4,000,000,000 plus years allows you to predict the future.
    Also the studies you point to are in dispute.

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    • Yeah, right.

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  3. the issue at hand is not whether global warming is real…its is governments’ response to the issue…what right does a governement have to intentionally make life less affordable (and thus, less enjoyable) for people for any reason? Governments, especially ours, have been rationalizing new taxes (revenue!) and limitations on the availabilty of basic staple products (have you noticed you cvant buy a 150 watt incandescent bulb anymore?). this is morally corrupt behavior, justified by reasearch results. Obama said in his first campaign, “under my plan, electric costs will, necessarily, skyrocket.” Are these the words ofsomeone who claims to represent every American? I’d say no…he’s looking out for the people who will profit as a result of his proposals. What happens to the middle income bread winner who has 3 children, and now he has to pay more for light bulbs, more for electricity, more for gasoline, etc simply because his elected officials believe in imposing their own desires based on research results…again this is morally corrupt, regardless of the supposed intentions. wake up, take the blinders off your head, expand your thought process a little…you may actually realize that freedom and liberty involve being educated in order to make your own decisions

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    • Alec, I think you miss the entire thing. There are 7 billion people on the planet, moving toward 10B or more. There is legitimate debate over what global warming will mean. My opinion is that it is far too late to avoid, and it is very likely to be much worse than most people suppose. Resources are finite. What right does a person, any person, have to waste them and pollute our life support system?

      As a nation, we have taken many steps to improve our efficiency over the decades. Factories no longer function with overhead belts driving the machines. And I’m sure you approve of modern cars and computers, all markedly more efficient than their predecessors. Lighting is no different. Compact florescent lights are LESS expensive, not more; each bulb you use saves you about $50, because they use about 25% of the electricity that incandescents use, and last far longer. The new LED lights are still a bit pricey, but even at that they save considerably more money than the CDs for the same reason. Why efficiency in power usage and saving money is immoral behavior eludes me. I would have to see exactly where Obama said electricity costs would skyrocket. But he’s been in office for over four years. Have they? Well, no.

      The cost of petroleum and electricity is not determined by the president; it’s a product of the free market.

      I’m afraid much of what you value as “freedom” is less free than you think. Of the trillion-dollar losses brought to us by criminal bankers and real estate persons, how free were we to avoid them? What decision might we have made? Your middle American with 3 kids is more likely to be in serious trouble because his job evaporated with the crash and he has no health care coverage than because of the cost of light bulbs. I will be the last person to claim that Obama and his administration are pure, but it is not he who created the havoc we’ve experienced these past five years, and it is not the Democratic party that has obstructed virtually every step the government might have taken to help.

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      • All well said . . . but the damage is done. Climbing to 10 billion, our population, no matter how efficient any First World country can be, has already tapped out our resources. The ONE (the ONE) thing that made this possible was the magic bullet of petroleum, and with it, the human race has shot itself in the head. Tragedy? Hardly, the smartest people alive are those who do not overvalue the human race. The stupidest are those who value “humanity” above all else (viz, nearly all governments).

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  4. It all boils down to the price of being wrong. If man-made climate change proponents are wrong we pay more for light bulbs, use less precious resources, and hopefully have a nicer planet for longer. If climate change skeptics are wrong then we are in real trouble. Choose.

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  5. Look up urban island heat effect, then find out how many of your temperature observations are located in urban areas that have seen massive development over the past 130 years. 1.5 degrees of warming will quickly disappear.

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    • Temperature readings are from millions of locations in every part of the world, on every part of every continent, in the deepest ocean and at the highest altitude. Even if it’s true that 1.5 degrees could be accounted for by increased urbanity, that increased urbanity also counts as increased temperature. In addition, even after deducting 1.5 degrees from the 8 degrees of the past century, that would still leave 6.5 degrees, which is quite enough to call global warming. The effects of climate change are in our faces every day.

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      • Please reread the chart, sir. Temperatures have gone up by 0.8 degrees over the last century, not 8 degrees.

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      • Sorry. You’re right, but it makes no difference. If it had been 8 degrees we would already be under ten feet of water, which is not likely until later this century.

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  6. What a dope, another crap article with phony statistics. Nice trick though acting like you were above the fold.. I am surprised you have the intellect to do so. Sound like another worthless professor to me.

    God forbid you want to go a round on solar rays if your phony graph was anywhere near accurate. There’s a reason more than 90% of the scientific community says this is all bullshit. Every time I hear the polar ice caps losing ice the next report shows double ice on the other side. May you freeze solid while preaching your phony diatribe.

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    • And your name and city is…? And the phony statistics you wish to refute are…? The proof you offer is…? And since well over 90% of climate scientists worldwide support these findings, where do the 90% that refute them come from?

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      • http://www.earthlyissues.com/carboncycle.htm Carbon is exchanged, or “cycled” among Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, ecosystem, and geosphere. All living organisms are built of carbon compounds. It is the fundamental building block of life and an important component of many chemical processes. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2), but also as other less abundant but climatically significant gases, such as methane (CH4). 🙂 gwenn meltzer advocate advisor humanitarianism first

        * ‘If we weren’t so aware of our differences, we’d find out how much the same we really are’ .. ~ gm Date: Sun, 4 Jan 2015 23:58:05 +0000 To: gwenn2006@hotmail.com

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      • Thanks, Gwenn, but I don’t see how this refutes any scientific evidence.

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      • i only posted to give skeptics another source .. the republicans cost our government billions trying to refute the claim .. instead of denying it .. they could have helped resolve it .. ~

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      • http://www.earthlyissues.com/carboncycle.htm

        Carbon is exchanged, or “cycled” among Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, ecosystem, and geosphere. All living organisms are built of carbon compounds. It is the fundamental building block of life and an important component of many chemical processes. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2), but also as other less abundant but climatically significant gases, such as methane (CH4).

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  7. WHY THERE IS GLOBAL WARMING
    The information below came from either books or downloaded from the Internet
    Please pass this information around to friends. Take Care, Harold

    People in the USA, are being told by the U.S. government and media that global warming is man-made. If that is true, how can the government and media explain the high temperatures the earth has experienced in past years when there were far fewer people? Let us look back in the world’s history: for example, between roughly 900AD and 1350AD the temperatures were much higher than now. And, back then there were fewer people, no cars, no electric utilities, and no factories, etc. So what caused the earth’s heat? Could it be a natural occurrence? The temperature graph at the bottom of this article shows the temperatures of the earth before Christ to 2040.

    In the book THE DISCOVERERS published in February 1985 by Daniel J. Boorstin, beginning in chapter 28, it goes into detail about Eric the Red, the father of Lief Ericsson, and how he discovered an island covered in green grass.

    In approximately 983AD, Eric the Red committed murder, and was banished from Iceland for three years. Eric the Red sailed 500 miles west from Iceland and discovered an island covered in GREEN grass, which he named Greenland. Greenland reminded Eric the Red of his native Norway because of the grass, game animals, and a sea full of fish. Even the air provided a harvest of birds. Eric the Red and his crew started laying out sites for farms and homesteads, as there was no sign of earlier human habitation.

    When his banishment expired, Eric the Red returned to congested Iceland to gather Viking settlers. In 986, Eric the Red set sail with an emigrant fleet of twenty-five ships carrying men, women, and domestic animals. Unfortunately, only fourteen ships survived the stormy passage, which carried about four-hundred-fifty immigrants plus the farm animals. The immigrants settled on the southern-west tip and up the western coast of Greenland.

    After the year 1200AD, the Earth’s and Greenland’s climate grew colder; ice started building up on the southern tip of Greenland. Before the end of 1300AD, the Viking settlements were just a memory. You can find the above by searching Google. One link is:

    http://www.greenland.com/en/about-greenland/kultur-sjael/historie/vikingetiden/erik-den-roede.aspx

    The following quote you can also read about why there is global warming. This is from the book EINSTEIN’S UNIVERSE, Page 63, written by Nigel Calder in 1972, and updated in 1982.

    “The reckoning of planetary motions is a venerable science. Nowadays it tells us, for example, how gravity causes the ice to advance or retreat on the Earth during the ice ages. The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth’s axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth’s tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons. Every so often a fortunate attitude and orbit of the Earth combine to drench the ice sheets in sunshine as at the end of the most recent ice age, about ten thousand years ago. But now our relatively benign interglacial is coming to an end, as gravity continues to toy with our planet.”

    The above points out that the universe is too huge and the earth is too small for the earth’s population to have any effect on the earth’s temperature. The earth’s temperature is a function of the sun’s temperature and the effects from the many massive planets in the universe, i.e., “The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth’s axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth’s tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons.”
    Read below about carbon dioxide, which we need in order to exist. You can find the article below at:
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html.

    FUN FACTS about CARBON DIOXIDE.

    Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.

    At 380 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere–less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.

    CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life– plants and animals alike– benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.

    CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there, but continuously recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans– the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.

    If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions and all other government proposals and taxes would have a negligible effect on global climate!

    The government is lying, trying to use global warming to limit, and tax its citizens through “cap and trade” and other tax schemes for the government’s benefit. We, the people cannot allow this to happen.

    A temperature graph normally goes here that shows the Earth’s Temperature from -2400 to guesses in +2400.

    If the Earth’s temperature graph is not shown above, you can see this temperature graph at the link:
    http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Harold.

      The questions you raise have all been answered, although there are many unanswered as well. There have been many hot and cold periods in planetary history, and they have been caused by several things. To begin with, most occur on a time scale far longer than that of our own age, that is a couple hundred years. The planet does not travel in a circular orbit, nor is it completely steady as it travels, and both of these have caused significant longer-scale temperature changes. Volcanic activity varies on a long scale too, and when it increases and large amounts of particulate matter are ejected to the stratosphere, they can lower planetary temperature. Cosmic crashes of asteroids can have catastrophic effects. Climate science is extremely complex, and we regularly learn something new.

      The author of the book on Vikings you mention seems to conclude that Greenland was very recently (meaning 1,000 years ago) covered in grassland. This is not true. Greenland has been covered with ice miles thick for hundreds of millennia. The only green was near the coast, as today. Legend has it that it was named Greenland to attract settlers from Iceland.

      CO2 is indeed absorbed by trees and other green plants. The problem is that we are producing thousands of times more CO2 by burning carbon from the era of dinosaurs than can be absorbed, and only for the past couple of centuries. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 has been steadily increasing, and is now at what many climate scientists believe is a tipping point. If true, temperature will continue to rise, and there is nothing we can do about it. I don’t think the government has been lying about CO2. I think the US government has been virtually clueless for decades. But I agree that Cap and Trade sounds like some sort of scam.

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