[Coral-List] Climate Change

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sun Jun 21 03:07:59 EDT 2015


   I'm looking at the Wikipedia page on "Climate change."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change  The first sentence says
"*Climate change* is a change in the statistical distribution of
weather <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weather> patterns when that
change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions
of years)."  It doesn't say anything about it having to be due to
fossil fuel burning in order to qualify as "climate change."  It goes
on in the section on terminology to say that "The term sometimes is
used to refer specifically to climate change caused by human activity,
as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of
Earth's natural processes.[3]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change#cite_note-3> In this
sense, especially in the context of environmental policy
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_policy>, the term
*climate change* has become synonymous with anthropogenic
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_impact_on_the_environment> global
warming <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming>. Within
scientific journals, *global warming* refers to surface temperature
increases while *climate change* includes global warming and
everything else that increasing greenhouse gas
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_gas> levels will affect.[4]

      I completely agree that while there are some people who deny
that the climate is changing currently or in recent times or is likely
to in the relatively near future, others accept that but don't agree
that humans cause it.  Actually, the IPCC reports themselves do not
say that humans are the sole cause of current climate change.  Rather,
they say that humans are the largest single cause of the current
climate change (over the last few decades) but there are also natural
contributors.  I believe they say that in earlier decades, other
factors contributed more than humans, and obviously there were major
climate changes that have been happening for the entire 4+ billion
year existence of planet earth (as recorded in the geological record),
that haven't been caused by humans, since humans didn't exist until
just a couple hundred thousand years ago or so (roughly) (though our
hominid ancestors existed for a few million years (roughly)
previously, according to the evidence from fossil bones), and the
industrial revolution that greatly increased emissions was relatively
recent.  Further, the IPCC does not say that all of the effects of
humans that cause the current climate change are due to burning fossil
fuels.  The largest part is, yes, but the emissions of CO2 from other
processes like making cement contributes, as well as emissions of
other gases such as methane, nitrous oxide (if I remember),
chloroflorocarbons (used as refrigerants) and maybe some others I've
forgotten, and other effects such as deforestation.  Also, people tend
to forget that humans also do things that act to cool the earth,
primarily the emissions of aerosols, such as SO2 which is mainly
emitted by burning coal, I believe, and is/was responsible for "acid
rain" and is a component of what is usually considered air pollution.
The things people do that heat the earth have greater effects on the
temperature than those that people do that cool the earth.  That's all
from the IPCC reports, which is all based on the evidence in a mass of
published, peer-reviewed scientific studies.  Apologies to those who
know this stuff in more detail than I do, since there are mountains of
details that I don't know or have forgotten, but I think those may be
the main points.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

     The Wikipedia pages on Climate change and Global warming are good
starting points, I'd think.  The IPCC reports include a relatively
brief overview, which is quite readable and has graphs that show the
size of the contributions of the different factors.  The latter is
available open-access, and is entitled "Summary for Policymakers".
The Wikipedia page on "IPCC Fifth Assessment Report" has a link to the
pdf of it under the paragraph for "Current documents."  Either the
Working Group I or the Synthesis Report versions would be the one
you'd want.  I'm looking at the Synthesis Report Summary document, and
Figure SPM.3 is one that shows the relative magnitude of different
effects.  My memory was from the previous report, but this Fifth
report puts the sum of different natural forcings for 1951 to 2010
centered on zero effect.  I didn't realize that, always something new
to learn.

Cheers,  Doug

One needs to define climate change. Wikipedia defines it as a change
in weather patters due to burning fossil fuels. By that definition
there has never been climate change before the industrial revolution.
Denying climate change doesn't mean you deny the climate is changing.
Just the cause of it.

Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."

Much-touted global warming pause never happened.


Has global warming taken a rest?  Not so fast, study suggests.  (check out
the graph)


Climate change deniers love to talk about a recent "pause" in global
warming.  A new study says it didn't happen.


website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner

blog: http://ocean.si.edu/blog/reefs-american-samoa-story-hope

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