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Question:Question: Is Global Warming primarily man-made or a natural occurring phenomena?

dhaffnersr is asking a question about spectral-workbench: Subscribe to answer questions on this topic

dhaffnersr asked on August 18, 2016 07:14
502 | 6 answers | shortlink


My personal opinion on this subject is that, there has always been warming and cooling trends on this planet for millions of years and I think that since the beginning of the 20th century, as far as global warming is concerned, humans have contributed a far smaller percentage to this seemingly growing trend in our weather patterns.

I am asking, because I would be interested to know about other's insight or knowledge about this subject.



question:spectral-workbench



2 Comments

stevie over 1 year ago

Hi! This question might be a bit large for the format here, but thought I'd ping in resources from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Check out the Fifth Assessment Report. This report was completed in 2014. Great notes and information available on the broader site as well: http://www.ipcc.ch/

dhaffnersr over 1 year ago

Thanks for the links, very helpful. I don't discount the problem that humans cause outright, I question the percentage factor that we have played in this problem.

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6 Answers

The science is in on this question. The Earth is warming, and humans are the dominant cause through the release of CO2 into the atmosphere. I say this as someone with a Master's degree in Geology. (That isn't to say there aren't still questions to be ans


ddileona over 1 year ago

It seems like the majority of the answer has been cut off. The perils of a new tool, I guess! Let's see if it can be recovered before I write it again.

dhaffnersr over 1 year ago

hey ddileona, yeah this format cuts off most of what you write, hard to have a discussion with any substance

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Maybe Public Lab can help the public grow in understanding of the cause(s) of global warming. In fact, I have been contemplating the submission of an Excel spreadsheet (with extensive VBA code in the background) so that anyone who has Excel can see for t


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I second the AR5 report, and especially the Summary for Policymakers if anyone is curious about the effect of increasing temperatures, rising seas, ocean acidification, loss of crops, and the mass displacement of human populations. Of course, we are already seeing and living these changes, which were predicted long ago.

The simplest argument for human-caused global warming is that, mathematically, statistically, nothing else explains the temperature changes in the air and sea, the ice core data, the acidity changes, the mass dislocation of species, the melting of the glaciers, and so on. Nothing else explains the radically accelerating climate phenomena all around us except an aggravated greenhouse effect--aggravated from deforestation and fossil fuel use. This was first posited, in the english-speaking world, anyway, in the 1950's. I remember learning about global warming in the eighth grade. I think I remember being convinced around 1997 by a Nature article relating CO2 over Europe to temperature and crop changes.

Here's a simple graph of Sea Surface temperatures, that summarizes this kind of argument. You could build this kind of graph for many global phenomena, especially temperature phenomena.

This argument is very tough for people from religious backgrounds, though, because this kind of argument ("nothing else explains it") is usually used in theological catechisms to prove supernatural things--so it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance and many people with that kind of proof of God will listen to this kind of lecture and come away with the idea that God is heating the earth because the astronomical and other climate forces don't explain it.

Add to a supernatural belief in oil companies, like you have in my home state, and it's a simple but non-convincing argument to many people in a polity that matters a whole lot in the solution--the United States.

The United States profits immensely from oil and forest products export, so there are many companies that would lose if governments were to tackle the climate problem.

Forest products out of the Southern States, Georgia and Alabama come to the front of my mind. Oil was mostly out of Texas and Louisiana and the Gulf, but now Wyoming and the west have bought in. People and Governments would rather deal with the dislocation from all the flooding than deal with confronting these companies politically (although that is changing slowly).

It has been very disturbing to read these reports, to study the climate, to study the predictions of how societies crumble in the face of accelerating climate instability, and then watch it happen in the past decade. At this point, I recommend skipping the physics (WG1) to the results (WG2) sections of the different regions, so you can prepare for what it happening to the food supply and the populations dislocated in your region of the planet. Here's the one for North America.

If you'd like to learn about the psychology of denial, that's not something that the AR5 report is very good at; but it's a very real part of the problem. It's a problem that human society would rather deny responsibility to natural causes and ascribe terrible loss of life and material comfort to the supernatural or other people, forces beyond their control.

When people start to recognize that there is a human role in the problem, there's usually multiple attempts to deflect responsibility onto people less powerful in human society--witness the ecologist Hardin placing the burden of the problems of human population expansion onto poorer developing nations. The UN has been able to mitigate that crisis somewhat, and population is slowing down. Smarter heads prevailed, and through study, we've identified that the "population bomb" is really a global technological and societal problem--we need less impactful technology and more, dignity, health, and education for women to slow birth rates. But that took decades of unpacking and negotiating and the global solution we have is a bit unsatisfying--and solution didn't have very powerful oil companies campaigning against it.

And many people who do recognize the problem and think there's a solution get caught up in consumerist solutions--like, we all need to recycle or eat locally or buy CFL light bulbs, because they are afraid of disruptions in their economic security.

But what's sad is that those disruptions are coming anyway, unless we can act at the local and national political levels. This leads to despair. We've definitely seen that in Louisiana around the land loss issue--the forces that caused the problem are powerful enough to deny a solution decades after the science is in and the solution is clear, and even after a governing body (CPRA) has been convened specifically to deal with it.


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I second the AR5 report, and especially the Summary for Policymakers if anyone is curious about the effect of increasing temperatures, rising seas, ocean acidification, loss of crops, and the mass displacement of human populations. Of course, we are already seeing and living these changes, which were predicted long ago.

The simplest argument for human-caused global warming is that, mathematically, statistically, nothing else explains the temperature changes in the air and sea, the ice core data, the acidity changes, the mass dislocation of species, the melting of the glaciers, and so on. Nothing else explains the radically accelerating climate phenomena all around us except an aggravated greenhouse effect--aggravated from deforestation and fossil fuel use. This was first posited, in the english-speaking world, anyway, in the 1950's. I remember learning about global warming in the eighth grade. I think I remember being convinced around 1997 by a Nature article relating CO2 over Europe to temperature and crop changes.

Here's a simple graph of Sea Surface temperatures, that summarizes this kind of argument. You could build this kind of graph for many global phenomena, especially temperature phenomena.

This argument is very tough for people from religious backgrounds, though, because this kind of argument ("nothing else explains it") is usually used in theological catechisms to prove supernatural things--so it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance and many people with that kind of proof of God will listen to this kind of lecture and come away with the idea that God is heating the earth because the astronomical and other climate forces don't explain it.

Add to a supernatural belief in oil companies, like you have in my home state, and it's a simple but non-convincing argument to many people in a polity that matters a whole lot in the solution--the United States.

The United States profits immensely from oil and forest products export, so there are many companies that would lose if governments were to tackle the climate problem.

Forest products out of the Southern States, Georgia and Alabama come to the front of my mind. Oil was mostly out of Texas and Louisiana and the Gulf, but now Wyoming and the west have bought in. People and Governments would rather deal with the dislocation from all the flooding than deal with confronting these companies politically (although that is changing slowly).

It has been very disturbing to read these reports, to study the climate, to study the predictions of how societies crumble in the face of accelerating climate instability, and then watch it happen in the past decade. At this point, I recommend skipping the physics (WG1) to the results (WG2) sections of the different regions, so you can prepare for what it happening to the food supply and the populations dislocated in your region of the planet. Here's the one for North America.

If you'd like to learn about the psychology of denial, that's not something that the AR5 report is very good at; but it's a very real part of the problem. It's a problem that human society would rather deny responsibility to natural causes and ascribe terrible loss of life and material comfort to the supernatural or other people, forces beyond their control.

When people start to recognize that there is a human role in the problem, there's usually multiple attempts to deflect responsibility onto people less powerful in human society--witness the ecologist Hardin placing the burden of the problems of human population expansion onto poorer developing nations. The UN has been able to mitigate that crisis somewhat, and population is slowing down. Smarter heads prevailed, and through study, we've identified that the "population bomb" is really a global technological and societal problem--we need less impactful technology and more, dignity, health, and education for women to slow birth rates. But that took decades of unpacking and negotiating and the global solution we have is a bit unsatisfying--and solution didn't have very powerful oil companies campaigning against it.

And many people who do recognize the problem and think there's a solution get caught up in consumerist solutions--like, we all need to recycle or eat locally or buy CFL light bulbs, because they are afraid of disruptions in their economic security.

But what's sad is that those disruptions are coming anyway, unless we can act at the local and national political levels. This leads to despair. We've definitely seen that in Louisiana around the land loss issue--the forces that caused the problem are powerful enough to deny a solution decades after the science is in and the solution is clear, and even after a governing body (CPRA) has been convened specifically to deal with it.


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Other scientific sites are NASA

And Union for Concerned Scientists (where i stole the graphic from)


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For the denial bit, I follow the Yale climate communication project.

It's disturbing and/ or hopeful to think how much would change if those of us in the US could elect a Democratic Senator to the state of Texas.


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