back to article Ice age end was accelerated by CO2

A new global study of ice core samples and underwater sediment suggests that rising atmospheric CO2 preceded the ending of the last Ice Age – not the other way around. One of the favourite rhetorical devices of the climate change denier is to invert cause-and-effect – in other words, the carbon rise around the end of the last …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ian 22

    WTF?

    El Reg supports CO2-based global warming? Prepare the faggots, for surely there will be burnings at the stake!

  2. Lord Zedd
    FAIL

    How ironic

    First they said we will cause "global warming" with CO2. That was proven to be incorrect.

    Now they are backpedaling to the 70's and again saying we will case an "ice age" with CO2.

    "Climatologists", please make up your mind which method you want to scare people into giving you money.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Sapient Fridge
      FAIL

      Re: How ironic

      Can you support your first statement with a peer reviewed science paper? Nope?

      The planet *is* still warming and the signal is obvious is you remove the temporary current cooling of La Nina, the solar cycle and aerosols:

      http://tinyurl.com/cgtn888

      Also see:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm

      To see the answers to other AGW denier myths and misinformation see:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: How ironic

      Oh dear, comprehension FAIL.

    4. Adam-the-Kiwi
      FAIL

      Re: How ironic

      While there is clearly a lot of earnest, enthusiastic and ill-informed comment on both sides of the climate change "debate", Lord Zedd must surely take some kind of award. How many things can one commentard get wrong in a three-line (three-paragraph) posting? I particularly like the 'case an "ice age" with CO2' RTFA fail!

      Special mention must go to the two morons who upvoted that post.

    5. Ilsa Loving
      FAIL

      Re: How ironic

      How ironic... a climate change denier that can't read.

      Wait, that's not ironic at all. That's pretty typical, actually.

    6. Bango Skank
      Alien

      Re: How ironic

      What is involved when you "case an ice-age", it sounds fascinatingly furtive and clandestine.

      Does one sneak about it in a time-travelling police box, and if I join in said casing, do I get my own sonic screwdriver?

    7. h4rm0ny

      Re: How ironic

      Lord Zedd. I am a climate change skeptic, and I'm afraid I must mod you down here for making the rest of us look bad. You have completely misunderstood the article.

  3. Special

    Fail

    "...the initial cause of the end of the Ice Age was a change in the “wobble” of Earth’s axis"

    Once again, the plane can't quite get off the ground.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Fail

      This has been explained twice on the Beeb in recent days - a combination of changes in the Earth's orbit (i.e. variation in distance from the Sun over a period of 100Kyears), axis tilt (40Kyear cycle) and precession of the axis (20Kyear cycle) in the right combination are the primary causes of the start and end of ice ages.

      Next one's due in about 60Kyears, BTW.

      1. Craigness
        Trollface

        Re: Primary causes?

        I've heard that scientists think ice ages are ended ONLY by plant food emitted by conservatives driving too-big cars, and from economic growth. They think we had those things thousands of years ago on Earth and they think those things currently exist on Mars. Their politically correct "solution" (being forced on us by the NWO) is to tax economic growth out of existence and abort all conservatives' babies.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Primary causes?

          Please give up with the "Plant Food" meme, it's about as sophisticated as the people who bang on about di-hydrogen monoxide.

          Here are a few points:

          1) CO2 is required for plant growth, yes.

          2) Too much CO2 kills plants

          3) CO2 is mamal exhaust

          4) Too much CO2 will kill most animals

          5) CO2 acidifies the oceans - it causes coral bleaching and kills fish

        2. ARaybould

          Re: Primary causes?

          From which one of the voices in your head did you hear that?

      2. Jimbo 6

        @ Uncle Slacky

        IIRC (from ep.2 of 'Orbit') the third factor is the location of the perihelion on the orbit ? But yes, the next Ice Age will be along in 60k years, for definite.

        But more importantly, has anyone else noticed the *apparent correlation* between rising global temperatures, and the rising number of really HOT tv boffinesses like Helen Czerski and Alice Roberts ? This needs further investigation, I think.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Fail

        Solid information with numbers.

        Much appreciated.

        I note 60k years is quite few election cycles away as well.

    2. Tom 13
      Coat

      Re: the end of the Ice Age

      And here I thought it was Scrat digging out his nut again.

  4. silent_count

    So...

    Correct me please if I'm misunderstanding this. According to the article, c02 both accelerated the start of the ice age and ended the ice age?

    1. Tim Parker

      @silent_count

      "Correct me please if I'm misunderstanding this. According to the article, c02 both accelerated the start of the ice age and ended the ice age?"

      The article says this about the end of that ice age..

      While the initial cause of the end of the Ice Age was a change in the “wobble” of Earth’s axis, the researchers believe the process was then accelerated by the CO2, possibly released from the warmer oceans.

      The abstract of the paper says much the same. Neither mention the start of it, nor the cause.

      1. silent_count

        Re: @silent_count

        That's for clarifying that Mr. Parker. My brain went one comprehension safari when I was reading the article.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh yeah

    Damn Range Rovers. They we selling like hotcakes back then too, eh?

  6. Ron 6
    Holmes

    But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

    Since the increase in temperatures lead the increases in CO2 concentrations by several hundred to a thousand years you have to wonder how CO2 concentrations force the end of the ice age.

    It also begs the question how an ice age can start while the CO2 concentrations are higher.

    Unless they have cause and effect reversed.

    1. Sapient Fridge

      Re: But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

      Ice ages start when orbital positioning means that less sun falls on the northern hemisphere. Ice builds up which then reflects more sunlight, giving a negative feedback.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles

      If CO2 rises high enough then it will override this effect and cause the ice to melt, giving a positive feedback. See the explanations for how snowball Earth ended:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_earth

      To further complicate matters, if temperature rises enough from another cause (e.g. solar variation) then it can warm the oceans enough to release significant amounts of dissolved CO2. That then causes more warming. This is another positive feedback:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

        @Sapient Fridge

        Just to be clear on your usage of the terms "positive feedback" and "negative feedback". Positive feedback occurs when a result of a change increase the magnitude of the change in the same original direction. Therefore, unless you are suggesting that ice reflecting the sun causes warming then you are actually claiming that the formation of ice causes positive feedback. It is just that it is positive feedback on a cooling effect; whereas the other 2 things you claim are positive feedback on a warming effect.

        An example of negative feedback might be: warming resulting in more water vapour in the atmosphere which causes super-saturation and more clouds to form. This reflects more sun and results in a cooling effect.

        Positive and negative feedback are interesting. Positive feedback causes runaway effects unless it reaches a hard stop for some reason. Square wave and triangle wave generators in electronics are usually built using positive feedback. Negative feedback tends to cause something to reach equilibrium - the point at which the negative feedback balances the initial effect. You use negative feedback in control systems.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

        And with that very first reference article, poor as it is, we get to my very first objection about current warmmongering: The models predicting runaway temperature increases based on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere assume solar forcing is constant.

        Until you have the proper variation in solar forcing in the model, it is GARBAGE.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

          Gents... positive feedback in a climate system is not the same as in an electrical system and does not imply runaway warming. It's odd that they use the same terms in seemingly the same way as an electrical engineer does but they mean something different. Think about it on these terms:

          Normally X change in CO2 would equal Y change in equilibrium temperature (based on simple lab physics)

          In the climate system (so the theory goes) X change in CO2 equals (Y + Z) change in equilibrium temperature with Z being amplification via positive feedback mechanisms

          Perhaps with the exception of some real nut jobs floating around on the internet - none of the <what's the opposite of a "denier"?> believe there will be "runaway" warming. That's not to say that a significant non-zero percentage of them think it will be catastrophic and a potential extinction event - but nobody really seriously thinks this will turn us into Venus.

          FWIW - this is coming from a non-believer (denier?). There are plenty of real issues in question, but the question of "runaway" warming isn't really one of them.

      3. Mikel

        Re: But warming leads CO2 concentration, so...

        An increase in insolation combined with an increase in CO2 in the oceans results in... photosynthesis as algae have a growth spurt. They capture the carbon back, lower the temperature until the poles freeze over. Until the orbit wobbles again.

        The only way we can prevent this is to release the carbon manually.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WTF

    " One of the favourite rhetorical devices of the climate change denier is to invert ..."

    Using the term "denier" is an asshole move and I really expect more from the Reg. I expect that kind of shit from Ars - which is why I come here.

    Seriously, is comparing people who have looked at the Vostok temperature / CO2 and said " wow, that's odd isn't it?" to Holocaust deniers really what passes for fucking journalism here?

    1. Sapient Fridge

      Re: WTF

      Who said anything about Holocaust deniers? Nobody but you.

      AGW deniers are something completely different, any connection exists only in your own mind.

      1. Chris Miller

        Re: WTF

        And the use of the word 'denier' to tar both with the same brush isn't a cheap 5th form debating trick at all, is it? I assume you'd be perfectly happy if I choose to refer to AGW proponents as 'baby murderers' on the grounds that diverting resources from 3rd world development to windmills results in the death of children.

        Let's try to progress the debate by science and rational discussion rather than thinking up new boo-words for those taking a different view, shall we.

        1. Craigness

          Re: WTF

          The earth is not flat. Anyone who denies that the earth is not flat is a denier. We don't have to redefine or stop using a word just because there are people who deny things which are politically sensitive. CO2-led global warming is a fact which deniers deny; that would be the same even if Hitler never existed.

          1. Chris Miller

            Re: WTF

            And within minutes, here come the AGW Grand Inquisition* to burn any heretics that dare to question the Holy Power of The Model or deny the Godhood of the IPCC. Equating the state of AGW science to demonstrating that the Earth is round (something no literate person has doubted since Eratosthenes) won't fool anyone over the age of 11.

            * See what I did there?

            1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

              Re: WTF

              No problem with the use of the word 'denier' here. It'd be a bit rich as I tend to refer to the worst of the AGW crowd as 'Green nutjobs' or just 'fucking nutters'.

              In fact, with the increase in TV shows covering the issues badly My missus can generally tell what I'm watching without even needing to hear/see the TV.

              Whether right or wrong, why do they insist on always showing the crackpot fundamentalists? (which goes for a lot of topics).

              I don't deny climate change, but I'm incredibly sceptical about the 'science' that supposedly indicates a human cause. It's the green nutjobs that are responsible for that though, given their apparent preference for capitalism over science.

              The earth may be warming, we may even be causing it, but when your solution involves taxing me stupid you better have some hard reliable evidence rather than the crap that's been used historically.

              1. James Micallef Silver badge

                Re: WTF

                "why do they insist on always showing the crackpot fundamentalists? (which goes for a lot of topics)."

                It's TV, the aim of the programmes is primarily to increase viewer ratings and only secondarily to inform/educate. If there's a conflict, typically the ratings win. Hey, it works, doesn't it? Otherwise why are you shouting at your TV?

            2. Craigness

              Re: WTF

              @ChrisMiller

              Do you really think 1 person constitutes a Grand Inquisition?

              The fact is, there are known facts about relationships between atmospheric content and climate. Some people deny those facts and they should be called Deniers, just like those who deny known facts about the spherical nature of the planet.

              Holocaust Denier means Holocaust Denier. Denier does not mean Holocaust Denier, unless used in the context of a discussion about a holocaust. Under no circumstances should anyone labelled a Denier be considered a Holocaust Denier in a conversation about climate change where the word Holocaust is used in not conjunction with the word Denier.

              We NEED a word to describe a denier and Denier is what we use. Deniers of any particular fact are not tarred with the same brush as anyone who denies anything else, except that they are both Deniers of facts.

              @the other one.

              I never said there are no skeptics.But deniers also exist, and they are called deniers. Claiming not to be anti-semitic does not excuse people their denial of climate facts.

              1. Chris Miller

                Re: WTF

                English is a rich and varied language. My Roget lists over 50 synonyms for 'deny', but you and other AGW promoters choose to fixate on this one. Consciously or unconsciously, you are doing so because you wish anyone who disagrees with your position to be associated with Holocaust Denial.

                No-one has said denial means Holocaust Denial. No-one has said they deny the world is round. I am happy to 'deny' that climate science is anywhere even close to being as accurate, well-established or uncontroversial as geodesy and I defy you to find a real scientist who would disagree with this assessment.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Craigness

                  Please, read again the line I was bitching about:

                  "One of the favourite rhetorical devices of the climate change denier is to invert cause-and-effect – in other words, the carbon rise around the end of the last Ice Age happened as a result of the warming, not the other way around."

                  The implication is pretty clear when I read that - maybe overstating a little but something along the lines of: "[those fucking nutjob flat-earthers are making shit up and arguing things backwards to try and confuse people]".

                  What is not disputed in the published research is that the antarctic cores - in particular the Vostok cores that formed the centerpiece presentation of "An Inconvenient Truth" - CLEARLY show CO2 lagging temperature. I don't think it's appropriate to implying someone is a denier because they are aware of that FACT, and think it might not have been explained adequately... especially when you have people saying that "[CO2 levels are the thermostat for our climate]". Just look at what "Skeptical Science" has to say on it (assuming a science site run by a cartoonist is a reliable source - maybe that's a conversation for another day/discussion):

                  "The only conclusion that can be reached from the observed lag between CO2 and temperatures in the past 400,000 years is that CO2 did not initiate the shifts towards interglacials. "

                  That, more or less, was the consensus explanation of Vostok prior to this research - "[that some mystery mechanism (NOT CO2!) started us out of the glacial periods and then CO2 took over about 600-1000 years into the warming]". I think a reasonable person could see that as being a little odd sounding... but being, apparently, a "flat earther" what do I know right?

                  What this abortion of an article fails to clearly articulate is that the big deal here is that this attempts to establish a mechanism to explain the Temperature ->then->CO2 lag in the Antarctic cores while establishing CO2 as the initiator of the warming out of the glacial periods - where, to my knowledge, no published theory existed to tie that together before.

                  That's a big statement - by all means now let's see how it stands up to scrutiny... but we shouldn't pretend that "[everyone knew this already except for those strawmen flat-earther-types over there]"... and while we're at it, can we try not to act like children - calling each other names?

          2. James Micallef Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: WTF

            @Craigness - you are right, no reason not to use perfectly good word such as "denier" IF that is the word that best describes the idea being expressed. Words have power and the exact meaning of words is important.

            If someone is making the argument that global temperatures are not rising at all, then it's accurate to call them a global warming "denier". If someone accepts that warming is taking place and that part of it is due to human emmissions of CO2, but isn't at all convinced of either the proportion of warming that is human-attributable or that drastically reducing CO2 output is the best way to solve the issue, it would be more accurate to call them "skeptics".

            For the vast majority of people that I have seen commenting in El Reg forums over the years on this issue, "skeptic" is a far better fit than "denier". And yes, calling a skeptic who does not accept everything you say at face value a "denier" is a cheap debating trick that adds nothing to either your argument or the debate in general.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Craigness

            "CO2-led global warming is a fact which deniers deny"

            Correction: CO2-led global warming is a *theory* which 'deniers' *challenge*.

            There is evidence to support it, but that does not prove it correct. Indeed, there was evidence to the effect that CO2 levels rose in response to temperature change that this new evidence contradicts. Simply because there are those who do not believe the theory is sound, does not make them a 'denier'. Rather it is what drives the scientific community and prove the theory: Test it, challenge it, try to break it, and if it still stands firm, accept that it is most likely correct. However, where the backers of a theory refuse to accept challenges then you have a break down of the scientific process and so the theory becomes little more than belief, and like other forms of belief, people get rather defensive and will show aggression towards those who show disbelief.

            Also, there are too many variables involved in temperature, and in climate, to state absolutely that CO2, man or any other factor is the driving force. Each might be contributing, but it is hard to pinpoint a single driving factor. For example: Clouds cause cooling. But distance from the sun and a lack of sunspot activity do so, too. Which factor drives the cooling, or is there no one single factor involved? That is why there are sceptics over the CO2 theory, and about the AGW in general: The claim of a single source of change doesn't sound right, nor is it truly substantiated beyond 'well, man may contribute, but it's happened before and will likely happen again'. And that, beyond anything else, is the reason why there are so many skeptics, and what this evidence goes to support is: It's happened before without us.

            As such, the efforts to stop the change could be futile. That does not mean we should not strive to be 'cleaner' and 'greener', but it does mean that we should also be looking at how to survive said change as a species.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is amazing, the ending of an ice age tens of thousands of years ago, that took over 7 thousand years couldn't possibly have anything to do with our present alarmist predictions.

    Anyone who claims it could is dogmatic.

    1. Santa from Exeter
      Stop

      Norfolk 'n' Goode

      Right, I've had enough of this one now.

      You really have your handle right don't you.

      Your constant spinning is no f'ing good to man nor beast.

      Firstly, your constant use of the word 'alarmist' does nothing for the debate. Ad hominem attacks are merely another tactic used by those in any debate to try and belittle the other side due to the lack of convincing argument for their own.

      Secondly your constant twisting of any article about climate into a purported link to the current global warming debate is feeble and disingenuous in the extreme (incidentally, the debate isn't about whether global warming is happening, the consensus amongst reputable Climatologists is that it is, the debate is about how much influence man has in the acceleration of the warming).

      As for being dogmatic, I would suggest that your postings are constantly dogmatic*, peremptory** and indeed didactic***

      * (of a statement, opinion, etc.) forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable: Collins English Dictionary 2003

      ** Not allowing contradiction or refusal: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000

      *** inclined to teach or lecture others too much; Random House Dictionary 2012

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Norfolk 'n' Goode

        With all those references, you must be a lexiconophilist!

        Yeah, alright, I had to look it up

  9. Reow

    Finally

    At last you are admitting that humans are not responsible for global warming - that it simply occurs as a result of nature. Now stop wasting my tax money and put it towards something we can control.

    1. Craigness

      Re: Finally

      Finally someone gets it!

      In the same manner, people were dying long before the invention of the gun so guns cannot be responsible for any deaths.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge

        Re: Finally

        Guns don't kill people.

        I kill.. I mean people kill people.

        Just like spades don't dig holes, they are tools used to dig holes.

        and like CAGW alarmism is a tool for raising taxes and curtailing freedoms.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Finally

          The gun helps though, you won't kill someone just by shouting BANG. I mean you'd have to have quite a weak heart for that to kill you.

          Thanks Mr Izzard

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Finally

        @Craigness

        No, a gun cannot be responsible for any deaths. It is an inanimate, crafted object. It does not choose to 'fire' a bullet, nor does it decide where the bullet will go. The person who left it loaded might be responsible, as might the person who used it to shoot someone. But no, the gun itself is not responsible as it has no awareness of action and has no intent in action either.

  10. John Latham

    "Christian Science Monitor"

    Seriously?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      Re: "Christian Science Monitor"

      Read it. Then comment.

      Then compare with SciAm, NewScientist etc.

  11. Khaptain Silver badge

    The multitude of studies and scientific reports is giving us the impression, be it true or false, that the planet is changing quicker that we are capable of evolving. I am not convinced that this is fact. People are scared and the governements and "funding researchers" are happy to play along with this idea.

    We can all make a multitide of hypotheses concerning the future but at the end of the day the "Black Swan" will arrive and prove us all wrong. We are trying to predict the unpredictable and people need to realise the difference between what is fact and what is scaremongering. The journalists are as much to blame as the scientists.

    1. Craigness

      It doesn't matter how fast a population evolves in the face of environmental change if its food doesn't evolve too.

    2. Tom 13

      @Khaptain: Minor nit

      I'd say politically motivated journalists are even more to blame than the scientists. The muckrakers are the ones who are supposed to fact check everything. Why I've even heard it said that if a real journo's mother tells him she loves him, he gets two independent sources to verify it before he puts it in an article.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: @Khaptain: Minor nit

        I agree, I should not have tarred all journalists with the same brush but it is difficult to know who the truly objective ones are.

        Objective journalists are a rarer species than the truly objective scientists these days.

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Meh

      As I know what it feels like to be down voted but not responded to I will respond.

      "The multitude of studies and scientific reports is giving us the impression, be it true or false, that the planet is changing quicker that we are capable of evolving."

      Once humans started to control their environment rather than their environment controlling them evolution effectively ended. Although the increased efficiency of the people in the UK at metabolizing alcohol could be a counter argument, depending on weather you view disease control as part of the environment.

      "People are scared and the governements and "funding researchers" are happy to play along with this idea."

      Unqualified assertion. Some people are scared. Some not.

      "We can all make a multitude of hypotheses concerning the future but at the end of the day the "Black Swan" will arrive and prove us all wrong. "

      Assertion. In real science different hypotheses make different predictions which can be tested in time. It is possible that *no* hypothesis matches the final state but it's *very* unlikely, unless important factors are either not recognized or not recognizes *as* important. At the end of the day we are all dead anyway.

      "We are trying to predict the unpredictable and people need to realise the difference between what is fact and what is scaremongering. "

      Assertion. Which is some times called a doctrine of impotence.

      Climate modelling is difficult but a substantial part of the science is *very* solid (in terms of atmospheric chemistry and physics). Building a detailed enough model without endless "fudge factors" and with enough resolution to pick up important effects and running fast enough to be *useful* is tough.

      Strictly speaking when talking about future events *nothing* is fact and everything is a scare depending on what outcome you *want* to have happen. The *probability* that an outcome will happen makes quite a big difference.

      The extreme case for this is a nuclear weapon *not* exploding as every single neutron exits the fuel *without* triggering a chain reaction. There is a very *small* possibility that this will happen. Want to bet your life on it?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Balanced reporting

    Richard Chirgwin talks about 'Deniers' and Lewis Page talks about 'Warmists'. People complain about bias, but at least they balance eachother (provided we get roughly equal amounts from each).

    I don't care about the bias as long as we keep getting these articles that add a little bit more to our understanding. I think most of us are capable of ignoring the bias and going to the meat of an article and getting what we can from it (and I got something from this one just as I get something from Lewis's stuff).

    My biggest gripe is that all too often the source is a paper which I have to pay to see. Abstracts are useful, but without the full paper I'm stuck with having to accept a summary purely on the basis of who said it. Not a very satisfactory situation.

    1. AdamT
      Thumb Up

      Re: Balanced reporting

      Exactly what I was going to post. I find that often when someone tries to write an article without any opinion showing through it is incredibly dull. I'd much prefer some author opinion in there even if it doesn't agree with mine. As you say, if the whole publication seems to become biased one way then it is time to worry.

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: Balanced reporting

      I'm all in favour of balance* but, as I see it, the word 'deniers' is deliberately chosen to close down argument by implying that the science is completely settled (in the same way that the world is round) and associating AGW 'denial' with holocaust denial. 'Warmist' is simply a shorthand way of avoiding having to write "those who follow the IPCC line that human fossil fuel consumption is driving a global temperature increase that is the greatest threat mankind faces in the 21st century". If you can suggest a more politically correct term, I'd be happy to use it.

      * Though there's hardly a shortage of mainstream media pushing the IPCC line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Chris Miller - Re: Balanced reporting

        I find myself in full agreement on your descriptions of the use of the two terms. I don't think there is any need for a more PC version of 'warmist', since it is quite mild compared to 'denier'.

        When used by Reg writers I take such terms as being convenient short-hand and don't get hung up on the meaning - what they report is more important to me than their attempts to wind up commentards.

        When used by commentards it's another story. Of the two I am least happy with the 'denier' tag as it does tend to be used to shut down argument.

        Ultimately people who rely heavily on such tags lose out because for many they simply indicate that the commenter does not have an argument they can be confident in.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Balanced reporting

        What about the words: "Hippies" and "Alarmists"

        They're hardly balanced are they?

    3. mevets
      Alert

      Re: Balanced reporting

      The balancing is frightening me. El Reg was one of few reasonable outlets to maintain the ostrich position on this issue. Does this shift towards balance signal a greater threat exists? I'm not very comfortable with that.

      ps: You should package an publish the whole comment section from article as a case study in reading comprehension. It is quite stunning, and mostly stunned.

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    The $64Bn question *seemed* to be did warming preceed CO2 rise or vice versa?

    But this seems to be saying it did *but* that was kicked off by a shift in the Earths path (*tilt* of the Earth or actual orbit. I'm not clear).

    So what force is *powerful* enough to alter a whole planet's motion?

    And is it likely to happen *again*?

    1. Craigness

      Re: The $64Bn question *seemed* to be did warming preceed CO2 rise or vice versa?

      The earth's orbit is not a perfect circle, or even a perfect ellipse. The axis of rotation of the earth is not fixed with respect to the sun. The albedo of the earth is not constant across its surface.

      Put these together and you get variations in the amount of sunlight hitting the planet and variations in the proportion of heat being retained. You don't need anything to alter the planet's motion, just the natural variances.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: The $64Bn question *seemed* to be did warming preceed CO2 rise or vice versa?

        The earth's orbit is somewhat chaotic. There are a lot of forces involved, such as gravity from other orbiting bodies, meteor impacts and passing comets. Individually the effects are negligible but these effects are in conjunction with each other and are varying in strengths so overall it keeps the earth from finding a sable orbit.

        As Craigness says, this results in an imperfect orbit, and a wobbly axial rotation. Add in variations in the sun's diameter, and how active or dormant it is (sunspots, heat output etc) you have for some interesting times.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: The $64Bn question *seemed* to be did warming preceed CO2 rise or vice versa?

        "You don't need anything to alter the planet's motion, just the natural variances."

        Most interesting. So it *should* be possible to identify the major forces affecting the *detailed* Earth movement and see if they are likely to combine in the same way?

        I'd guess JPL would be the people to talk to about that. Their ability to do precision space probe planning suggests their models of the solar systems and perturbation forces are *far* more detailed than the stuff you'd find in an ordinary astronomy text book.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but hang on a sec

    so whats correct then, the graph showing that over thousands of years temperature rises have predated rises in CO2 temps dropping whilst CO2 continues to rise or this new data?

    Someones wrong, and this is the point, no one knows for sure and everyone has a opinion supported by fact, to me this seems a bit odd, you cant have all the opinions supported by fact UNLESS there is another force at work that is effecting this and not just CO2...

    just saying..

    1. Craigness

      Re: but hang on a sec

      As more data is gathered the charts get more accurate. The article was about more data being gathered which shows the old charts are not accurate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: but hang on a sec

        ok i get that, but thats quite some difference in results, infact it couldnt get more polar! I just think that this is so complicated that finding out the truth may not be possible whilst we concentrate on the single issue we hear about and that being CO2. The problem is people can support any argument that takes their fancy with fact. and i dont think any accurate answer can be made without basing the results on everything possible, which probably isnt possible at the moment as there are too many things that influence one another.

        Im not saying one way or the other im just trying to understand how we can try and make world changing decisions based on a very narrow area of study and ignoring anything else that might not support that ....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Did you guys read the article?

          Not the incoherent hack job here, but the ones linked/referenced?

          Maybe to explain something first: An ice core - much like a weather station at an airport, or any other single proxy measurement - can only present data for one location. The Antarctic cores/studies - which are the ones that show CO2 lagging temperature - are not overturned/disproven by this study. They still exist, are still considered valid and trustworthy, and are even discussed/referenced in the work.

          The work being referenced attempts to explain that lag - which shows CO2 increasing 600-1000 years after temperature increases - as a regional, and not global phenomenon. They also attempt to demonstrate that CO2 was, in fact, the trigger for moving us into the interglacial periods where before this was unexplained.

          I'll refrain from commentary other than I feel this is an interesting theory and I am curious to see how it holds up.

  15. Khaptain Silver badge

    Thumbs Down Crowd

    Would all the "Thumbs Down Crowd" please stand up and speak your minds. It's one thing to have the courage to click that red button it's another to explain why.

    Fine, you do not agree with a comment, thats your perogative but it would greatly advance us all to understand why ! You may have something to offer which would change our minds and bring us out of the dark.

    Debate and discussion require at least two parties, it's what makes them interesting and is also what is necassary in order that both parties can eventually evolve.

    It takes just a little bit of courage to stand up and speaks one's mind or make a proposition and it is necassary to accept that sometimes you will fail. But to simply stand at the back and naysay relegates you to the level of a sheep.

    I would rather read an article that I didn't agree with than see those Thumbs Down counters adding up.

    1. Some Beggar

      Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

      Ignore them then.

      Or ... you know ... demonstrate how little you care by banging out a few paragraphs of whimpering and whining.

    2. Blip
      Meh

      Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

      By the time I read the articles the important points have usually been made and usually with more knowledge than I have. I also generally read when at work and so don't normally have time to compose a reasoned reply.

      Had a reply been posted that expressed what I have in this post, I would have simply upvoted that. I'm happy to not spend time adding another useless "Me too" type comment, but to simply up or down vote existing messages.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

        The problem here lies in the fact that the posts that have the most downvoting very seldom have any direct replies. This make it impossible to know what exactly you or anyone else actually does agree with.

        Quite often I see cases where there are more downvotes than there are upvotes, go figure...... This thread was one of them....or at least it was when I started reading it.

        1. Some Beggar

          Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

          No. I think the problem is more likely to lie somewhere within the fact that you seem to genuinely care about which button is pressed by a bunch of anonymous strangers on an internet messageboard.

          According to my profile, my "posts have been upvoted 885 times and downvoted 593 times"

          Should I reach for the champagne or the cyanide? Or just take another sip of "whatevah"?

          1. Khaptain Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

            Believe it or not, I do actually care. Why because in relation to some of my posts, either there is a whole bunch of sheep out there that are still learning to chew or I am completely of the wall. I am convinced that the latter is not true.

            Therefore it means that percentage wise there are several possible conclusions that I can surmise:

            * Liberal and rational thinkers are very few and far between.

            * Liberal and rational thinkers don't actually use the Green button.

            * The simple minded sheep are far more numerous amongst the El Reg forums than I had previously thought. ( This is scary because they work or have a serious interest in IT).

            * The simple minded sheep have a very small capacity for thinking out of the box and that is not an advantage within our industry. As the rest of us have to repair the damage.

            * The simple minded sheep collectively are stronger because of their numbers, within a democracy this is very scary. El Reg will eventually cater to them because that's whats bring in the dollars. ( And then I will be forced to read/follow one of the lesser sites, lol)

            So those damned Thumbs Down users, the ones that don't actually leave comments, are a worrying figure.

            [Yes, I know that simple minded sheep is an oxymoron but it enhances the image]

            1. MondoMan

              Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

              I sort of like picturing the idea that you are completely "of" the wall. Might want to invest in some grammar checking.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

      You'll need to grow a thicker skin if you're commenting here on El Reg. If you are on the politically incorrect side of an issue, the scan-bys like to show their hipness by running up the thumb scores. This applies to MS, Apple, and Google too.

      1. Some Beggar
        Thumb Down

        Re: Thumbs Down Crowd

        @Tom 13

        I'm downvoting you because you used the word "Apple". Sorry.

  16. lambchops
    Holmes

    Not quite what they say..

    They found that CO2 levels increased before temperature from ~17,500 to 6,500 years ago. However, 'deglaciation' (melting) occurred ~17,500 years ago and, at this point, temperature increased before CO2. They say "This finding suggests that CO2 was not the cause of initial warming".

    Their study involved taking a lot of temperature proxies and averaging them to provide a time history. When this is plotted along with CO2 on the same time scale it looks like CO2 rises, then temperature follows (after ~17,500 years ago).

    Having read the paper, they make a pretty good case (just to be clear I'm a sceptic, or should I say 'denier'?). The only thing is, they only look at one CO2 record, which is adjusted. Compared to the original paper their CO2 record is taken from (Monnin, Science, 219), their adjustment seems to have shifted their CO2 graph by a good few hundred years backwards in time. This looks like it seriously increases the effect of CO2 rising before temperature.

    They don't mention any 'acceleration' of anything in the paper or supplementary material. It looks like the author of this article only read the abstract and/or press release.

  17. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Up

    Superb

    "Global warmings deniers" used in an El Reg article? Awesome :) Now we need a fight between Chirgwin and Orlowski to determine the real truth about global warming - convenient or otherwise. A fight using PlayMobil, of course.

    1. Tom 13
      Trollface

      Re: Superb

      RegDome! RegDome! RegDome!

      Two writers enter, one writer emerges.

      RegDome! RegDome! RegDome!

      Where's the post-apocalyptic survivor icon?

  18. Lazy Gun
    FAIL

    Stop reading at "denier"...

    I stopped reading at "deniers". Anything you ever read on the global warming religion that uses the word "denier" is guaranteed to be the foam-flecked rantings of a fully brainwashed, fully indoctrinated acolyte activist of the church of global warming, and therefore certain to be factually incorrect in every way possible.

    Check out Wattsupwitthat.com for a breakdown of all the errors in this alleged piece of climate "science":

    http://tinyurl.com/d554aky

    I had considered the Reg to be one of the few places on the web you could come for a grown up's perspective on the global warming hysteria. I do hope they don't plan on giving airtime to this kind of drivel on a regular basis.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

      Well, I didn't stop reading at the word "denier", but I do admit to having a certain amused expectation to both the triumphalist tone to follow and the glossing over of underlying facts.

      Firstly, the author ignores two very simple facts - the Earth went into and ice age and exited one without any human assistance. Nature did the whole trip, not us, and is likely to do it again, regardless of what we do. Essentially, we can forget worrying about our minor impact and start worrying about WTF we do when circumstances coincide again to produce another ice age.

      Secondly, as all that extra CO2 was poked out of the ocean depths, temperatures rose and..... nothing. The World didn't accellerate to a firey end, nobody got fried, in fact the planet carried on and Nature carried on with the development of the massive biodiveristy of today.

      Thirdly, regardless of the extra CO2 released from the ocean depths, the World was already warming up without it, and would have carried on warming up, implying CO2 was at best a minor addition to the process, the rest being simple Nature again, no SUVs required. Thanks, but I'll carry on driving the V8.

      1. Lazy Gun

        Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

        :-) you can afford to run a V8?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

          Mainly weekends, nowadays, but I also have a nasty, diesel-guzzling SUV for the weekdays.

      2. NomNomNom

        Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

        "Firstly, the author ignores two very simple facts - the Earth went into and ice age and exited one without any human assistance."

        Let me deconstruct this. There are two possibilities here:

        1) experts have ignored two very simple facts as you claim.

        2) you've made a mistake.

        Even though #2 is more likely climate sceptics virtually always jump on the #2 wagon. Their addiction to anti-intellectualism and conspiracy theories, coupled with their own delusions of grandeur lead them to this kind of end.

        "Nature did the whole trip, not us, and is likely to do it again, regardless of what we do. Essentially, we can forget worrying about our minor impact and start worrying about WTF we do when circumstances coincide again to produce another ice age."

        What the author will know which you don't know is that Nature is highly unlikely to drop into another ice age in the next few hundred years. And even if it begin that process would take hundreds to thousands of years. On the other-hand our impact (you presume is minor with no reason given) will hit in the next 200 years. And that is why the author didn't mention this - what you considered to be a "very simple fact" was actually irrelevant.

        "Secondly, as all that extra CO2 was poked out of the ocean depths, temperatures rose and..... nothing. The World didn't accellerate to a firey end, nobody got fried, in fact the planet carried on and Nature carried on with the development of the massive biodiveristy of today."

        We are raising CO2 today faster and higher than it rose out of the last ice age and temperature is already high. So your argument that the earlier rise out of the ice age makes the current situation a non-issue is utter balls. Not only that but you've made a huge logical contradiction.

        1) You first argued we should worry that an ice age might happen again. Even though the world didn't end and the planet and nature "carried on".

        2) You now argue that if something happened before and the world didn't end and the planet and nature "carried on", we shouldn't worry about it happening again.

        Typically these contradictions happen when people aren't trying to be consistent and are instead trying to push an agenda.

        Climate skeptics try to make people lose focus on CO2. To that end they proclaim it's nothing to worry about. But they've also taken up the tactic of trying to get people to worry about something else instead. In this case we are told to worry about an ice age instead of CO2. And because all that is being focused on are cheap tactics, there was no consistency check made and the contradiction snuck through.

        "Thirdly, regardless of the extra CO2 released from the ocean depths, the World was already warming up without it, and would have carried on warming up, implying CO2 was at best a minor addition to the process"

        That's just gutter logic not even worth exploring.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

            Matt - Can you let me know where you studied, what your qualifications are and why you don't cite sources?

            See, the thing is that as you're suggesting that the scientific convention is wrong, you need to do these things. If I say nothing can go faster than the speed of light, I don't have to cite sources, it's accepted. If I say that actually there are a few things that do, but don't explain how I've come about this decision, why would anyone believe me?

            1. Tom 13

              Re: why you don't cite sources

              See, that's one of the reasons I enjoy re-reading some EE "Doc" Smith every now and again. Most SF writers spend months dreaming up loopholes around SR, then reading abstracts and bouncing hypotheses off other authors until they finally have a 6 page theory to present in their novel that explains how they are getting around SR. Doc, having been an actual chemist, dispenses with the whole mess in a few sentences:

              Hmm, were going faster than the speed of light. Einstein go something wrong; I'll have to figure it out later.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

              "Matt - Can you let me know where you studied...." Why, am I only allowed to participate if I have a certain PhD? Is the climate debate a closed shop now? Let's just say I'm a professional problem solver, which includes assessing the solutions put forward by others and seeing how they stack up. So far, the "science" that has been put forward by the AGW crowd has proven to be shallow and - in cases - fraudulent. You guys need to work a lot harder to convince the rest of us you're right. Yuo may be so, but don't expect anyone with half a brain to just swallow whatever snake oil you're pushing, especially when you have preofessional shysters like Al Gore in your corner.

              ".....and why you don't cite sources?...." So you need a source to admit there was an ice age, or that the cavemen didn't have SUVs? Damn, you're beyond borderline stupid if you're going to argue on either of those points!

    2. Some Beggar
      FAIL

      Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

      You stopped reading at the first slight opportunity to take offence? That sounds like an open mind.

      1. Lazy Gun
        WTF?

        Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

        The idea I would take offence if a moron calls me names is ridiculous.

        You miss entirely the point of my comment. If you want to debate the (non) issue of global warming on the facts and the science, fine - let's do that. If, however, you begin your argument by declaring to the world that you are a f*ckwit by using the divisive term "denier" then you give up the right to ask people to take you, or what you have to say, seriously.

        1. Some Beggar
          FAIL

          Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

          @Lazy

          Why would anybody want to debate with somebody who descends into blubbing hysteria at the use of the perfectly innocuous and descriptive word "denier"?

          How about this: you refuse to accept the widely held scientific consensus on man's contribution to global warming but are unable to provide any material reason why you refuse to believe it. You presumably think you know better than all these scientists. That could mean that (a) you are an uncelebrated genius who actually knows better, or (b) you are depressingly arrogant and closed-minded.

          Shall we toss a coin or leave that as an exercise for the reader?

          1. Lazy Gun

            Re: Stop reading at "denier"...

            @Some Beggar.

            1. The so-called "consensus" doesn't exist now, and never did exist, except in the minds of politicians and the gullible/stupid.

            2. People who cite "consensus" when discussing science know nothing about science or the scientific method.

            3. Geniuses - they work in Apple stores, right?

            4. Describing the word "denier" as innocuous betrays you as someone fundamentally ignorant of the history of the global warming hysteria.

            5. Your post suggests your are an expert tosser, so I'll leave the coin thing to you. Heads it warms up, tails it cools down. Even you could be a climate scientist!

  19. /\/\j17
    Stop

    How do you find evidence in ice for the end of the LAST ice age...?

    I'm a little confused by this one. How can you find evidence in polar ice for the end of the LAST ice age?

    As an ice age is defined as a period with permanent ice on the surface of the earth the ice they are looking at in the Antarctic will be from the CURRENT, Quaternary ice age that started 2.58 million years-ago and is still in the process of ending (hence the presence of ice at the poles) and by definition hasn't yet ended.

    The LAST ice age that actually had an end would be the Karoo, 360 to 260 million years-ago.

    1. Florence

      Re: How do you find evidence in ice for the end of the LAST ice age...?

      The colloquial use of "Ice age", to define a "glacial period" of an actual "ice age" certainly doesn't help.

      We're currently in an interglacial period of an ice age if we are to use the proper terms. The article does indeed muddle things a bit by referring to the previous glacial period as an Ice age, but that's very common usage unfortunately.

    2. James Micallef Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: How do you find evidence in ice for the end of the LAST ice age...?

      I understood the question to mean "how do you find evidence for the end of the previous integlacial to the one we are in now?", and maybe it's a brain fade or Easter coming or whatever but I can't wrap my mind round the following.

      I can understand that scientists can look at a bit of ice from an ice core and use some cleverness to work out how old it is, and what the temperature and CO2 levels were when it was formed. By definition that ice has to have stayed frozen until today.

      Also by definition, it's not possible to work out anything about any ice that already melted because it's no longer there. So either there's a hidden (and dodgy) assumption that general conditions were the same for ice that formed and stayed frozen so we can now get samples of it, or (most probably) I'm missing something pretty obvious that allows scientists to cancel the inherent bias that their samples are 100% composed of the bits that froze and stayed frozen and 0% of the bits that froze and then at some later point melted again.

  20. Sirius Lee

    Dodgy science

    "the only place in which the current study finds CO2 rises followed warming was in Antarctica"

    This study may have discovered a different pattern of melting/CO2 emissions but that does not lead to the conclusion asserted by the report (or, at least, the article). To arrive at the desired conclusion one would need an explanation that *also* encompasses the evidence from Antarctica core samples which point the other way.

    By happy coincidence I'm reading David Deutch's book The Beginning of Infinity in which he makes the case it is imperative that only explanations which are invariant should be accepted. Any explanation which is not invariant may form a useful guide but is not really an explanation at all.

    In this case the contradictory Antarctica core samples makes it difficult for any explanation to be invariant. It probably points to a much more complex picture that either side in this *political* maelstrom could ever admit.

    1. James Smith 3

      Re: Dodgy science

      I'm not convinced by their explanation of this either. The BBC has a good article with a clearer explanation and some nice graphs to back it up: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17611404

      The sun warms Antarctica and that then causes a CO2 increase which warms the rest of the world. Sounds logical, but wouldn't the CO2 derived warmth then feed back into the Antarctica temperature graph? I can't see evidence of that; the global temperature just looks like a delayed version of the Antarctican one.

      They could well be onto something with their theory, but I'm not sure they've got all their ducks in a row yet.

  21. moonface
    Flame

    New Policy and Legislation required.

    It's about time the Government tackled the root of this problem and sorted out the wobble of Earth’s axis.

    I demand DECC take some immediate action and sort this out. More political spin and less precessional.

  22. James Micallef Silver badge
    Boffin

    Initial warming increase or CO2?

    The article refers to the change in the wobble of the earth that would have lead to more solar energy landing on the earth. The implication seems to be initial warming caused CO2 to be released from oceans which further increased the warming effect, causing ice melt.

    What about if initial warming caused both the CO2 release from the oceans AND the ice melt, at different rates with ocean surface warming faster than glaciers, hence the increase of CO2 occurring before the ice melt.

    In the first scenario there would be an initial warming phase that then accelerated, in the second scenario the warming would be more constant. Due to known greenhouse properties of CO2, I think the first scenario is quite likely, and in this case the rate of acceleration of warming could give a clue as to what proportion of the warming was from the initial additional solar forcing and what proportion came from additional CO2 in the atmosphere. (faster acceleration of warming = CO2 effect is the larger component, slower acceleration of warming = the solar forcing is the larger component )

    So the rate of acceleration of warming observed then could help us to calibrate how much of the current warming is attributable to observed increase in CO2 and how much is due to observed increase in solar activity.

    Not that THAT would stop the arguments!

  23. Gary Moran

    <One of the favourite rhetorical devices of the climate change denier is to invert cause-and-effect – in other words, the carbon rise around the end of the last Ice Age happened as a result of the warming, not the other way around.>

    The reason for this is that the "usual" methodology for determining the relationship between temperature and CO2 (ice-core analysis) says exactly this: CO2 lags temperature rise in glacial terminations. This new study uses a novel methodology to demonstrate how Co2 might lead temperature despite the ice-core record; but it certainly doesn't prove it.

  24. James Pickett

    OK - I'll consider the idea that CO2 caused the end of the ice-age, if someone will tell me where the CO2 came from. I doubt it was anthropogenic.

    1. catprog

      Warmer temperatures in the ocean leads to less CO2 being able to be held -> CO2 gets released.

      CO2 then causes more warming and more CO2 is released.

      (And if you say CO2->temperature can only be one way I will point you to Nitrogen dioxide. If you put some of NO2 into a container some will change into Dinitrogen tetroxide. And the reverse reaction also happens)

  25. John A Blackley

    Irrelevant

    The habits of manking may be contributing to climate change or they may not. I don't know (and don't care).

    If the climate is rapidly changing - and I'm willing to believe, for now, that it is - we can do one of two things about that. We can use our technology to cope with the effects of the climate change or we can do the really, really stupid thing - allow our politicians to use it as an excuse to tax us ever-more heavily, create windmill farms so their cronies can make fortunes from our taxes and continue to live the high life at our expense.

    Guess which one we've chosen?

    1. catprog

      Re: Irrelevant

      Or the 3rd option.

      Use our technology to reduce the changes in the 1st place.

  26. Michael 34

    Consider the Source

    As to the article itself, presumably others besides someone at Oregon will validate the claim. Deciding which came first, the chicken or the egg, is perhaps easier than which came first, the ice or the CO2? (Eggs come first. The very first chicken will be a mutation inside an egg whose parents were almost-chickens but not quite there).

    In the instant case; it is well established that a circularity exists -- ice depends on CO2 which depends on ice, round and round we go. As others have pointed out, positive feedbacks exist, but more on that topic would suggest exploring bistable systems -- a "flip flop" in computer terms, versus an oscillation. In the case of an oscillation, once the rate of rise starts to decline the system starts to head the other way. This article suggests that ice ages are indeed a bistable system and some external input is required to "toggle" the state.

    As to the meta-discussion of "denier", Kari Norgaard has quite a lot to say about it:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2867911/posts?page=7

    Perhaps humans CAN modify climate; that doesn't mean we SHOULD. But if in fact humans cannot modify climate, how many trillions of dollars shall we waste on the experiment, and what exactly was the real intention all along for doing so?

  27. Mike 137
    WTF?

    What is "rising carbon"?

    "...rising carbon precedes accelerating warming"

    Perhaps someone could explain what "risng carbon" is? This kind of sloppy thinking contributes to the huge confusion that surrounds "global warming" in the public mind. Please let's get our fundamental terminology right - shouldn't be too hard.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is "rising carbon"?

      When climate scientists say carbon, they mean CO2 equivalent behavior. For example: Methane is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, so instead of reporting X amount of CO2 and Y amount of Methane, the methane is multiplied to make a CO2 equivalent dose/effect.

  28. Beachrider

    This topic is worth more civility...

    The 'bumper-sticker it, bozo' approach to this topic has polarized opinions. If you take enough words out of a true statement, you CAN make it into a false statement.

    1) Coincidence of CO2 levels with temperature is a polemic for some, but there are many on both sides that accept that "higher levels of gaseous carbon-compounds create increases in temperature". People that don't agree with THAT could be too hardcore for the discussion.

    2) The reliance on CO2-mainly as the cause is the main problem for consensus. CH4 (and C2H6) and other very-active compounds ARE involved. Rising CH4 causes a rise in CO2 levels, all by itself. CH4 is also 72 times as-active as CO2 (in similar concentrations) in the greenhouse effect.

    3) The biggest separation on this rises from Mankind's CO2 effect on the greenhouse effect. The increase in atmospheric CH4 since 1998 is 3%. That is an astounding impact from a hyper-active gas.

    My take is to look at carbon-loading, generally. Too many countries have walked away from Kyoto already. Some don't want to wait anymore, but they take the risk of quashing the world economy structure. It is fair to say that no one want to retard economic growth unnecessarily, it is just a question as to what 'unnecessarily' means exactly.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The phrasing seems dubious and seem based on flawed assumptions

    1. Their interpretation of the results of this study seem dubious, because the heat came before the CO2.

    2. Water vapour is already known to be a far better global warming agent than the feebleness of CO2 (e.g. cloudy nights are typically warmer, because significant heat is retained); so I see the statement about greater CO2 causing significant heat retention as a Red Herring and a possible attempt to deceive people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The phrasing seems dubious and seem based on flawed assumptions

      To quote Ben Goldacre:

      I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

    2. catprog

      Re: The phrasing seems dubious and seem based on flawed assumptions

      And how do you affect the level of the water vapor?

      Too little and evaporation will occur to bring it back up.

      Too much and it will precipitate out.

  30. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Rising methane levels too.

    CO2 can't be tracked in isolation. As things warmed up enough to allow methane hydrates to bubble out of shallow ocean floors, the change accelerated in the past - and will accelerate in future as perafrost-encased swamps start releasing large amounts of locked-in methane.

    Global warming != "we're all going to die", but there will have to be population movements to (slightly) higher ground. That can happen gradually over the decades, or be forced upon those who try and keep the tides at bay when the levees eventually break.

    There are far too many doom and gloom merchants trying to make a huge deal out of this. If it wasn't for the greenhouse effect the average global temperature would be around -17C

  31. david 12 Bronze badge

    Almost stopped reading

    Almost stopped reading at the second paragraph, when the author declared himself not just non Popper-ian, but actively anti-science.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Down under

    we no longer fear " Global Warming ". " Climate Change " is the official term and to quote our Prime Minister, " The Science Is Settled ". Every government document and initiative must give due regard to " Climate Change Impact ". Every student is being inculcated with " Climate Change Awareness ". Every business and consumer will shortly be impacted with a carbon tax of AU$23 per tonne of CO2 equivalent. Anybody with a contrarian, sceptical or otherwise non-conforming viewpoint is routinely laughed off public forums. A comedian posing as a crusading environmentalist recently proposed that sceptics be the first eaten when the shit hit the purportive fan.

    Co-incidentally: Every coal mine which can be opened is being opened. Fracking for ever more gas goes on in a number of places. Uranium deposits are being sought and developed as a priority. PVs are being imported by the shipload from China. Solar hot water service installations receive no subsidy. Gas and electricity prices, as determined by the ever-so-conveniently-privatised utilities, are heading north rapidly.

    No-one wants to live near a wind-farm and, oh, nuclear power is a Giant no-no.

    Is anyone else confused ?

    Cowardly custard, me.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Down under

      "......Cowardly custard...." Shirley, that should be Courage the Cowardly Dog? "Cowardly Custard" will only inflame the intellegentsia as being redolent of the Empirialist past. Besides, I thought the Great Oz Escape Plan was to move to London to work in our bars?

      Mind you, many Aussies may want to rethink that Plan. Whilst I'm all for private enterprise for the greater marketplace, I believe that certain essentials - such as provision of electric power - should be under government control. Simply giving control to public businesses puts the control in the hands of boards only interested in producing greater share prices. An example is the way electricity generators in Europe are switching development moneys to build conventional stations for the German market, knowing that Angela Merkel's "no nukes in Germany" choice will guarantee them the best short term returns on investment, not what is actually best for the people. Merkel has guaranteed them a bonanza, and they are duty-bound by their own corproate governances to exploit that short term advantage, at the long term cost of not developing nuke stations. The German taxpayers will pay up front, but all of Europe (except France) loses in the long term.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019