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good chart showing earths basic climatic history  RSS feed

 
Leah Sattler
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thought some might find this interesting. It always helps me to see things in a chart/graph to consolidate the info into my brain and avoid all the language clutter.

http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm

to put it in perspective a bit.......the end of the pleistocene era was about the time that humans "invented" agriculture.
 
              
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looks like global climate needs to warm up a bit, I feel like in an ice house now, with lows of -20F this morning.  Where is this global warming mystical beast at?  nowhere to be found 
 
                          
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It,s in Darwin 32c and pouring rain at 3am
 
                          
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Looney, as you've probably heard before, as the world's average temperature is warming, it causes the weather to become unstable--so a warmer average global temperature can actually lead to colder and harsher winters in some places. That's the danger of looking at averages! This chart shows how our climate is very sensitive to changes in the atmosphere.

Not to get all soapboxy, but I'ma gonna get all soapboxy:

The real danger of human-aggravated global warming is not that it will make all temperatures everywhere 2 degrees warmer all the time (it won't). As the charts Leah linked to point out, the earth's climate has changed a lot over the last 60 kajillion years. It wouldn't be the end of life on earth if the planet warmed up a bit. Unfortunately, we're not just smoothly and gradually warming things over a couple million years--we're starting to make changes that are causing other changes that are causing a destabilization of climate control mechanisms. If you pop a loaf of bread into your oven to bake and it warms evenly, rises in good time, and gets a nice crust on it, then your oven is warm enough. But if you were to destabilize your oven temperature the way human actions are destabilizing the climate, you'll end up with a loaf that's burnt on one side and uncooked in the middle. That's an unpleasant and difficult situation for humans and other living beings to live in.

I have close friends who are very honorable, intelligent, and skeptical people, who are also climate scientists. I believe we know that human activity is influencing the planet's climate, and I think we can already see ways in which this is dangerous. And I know that powerful interests are invested in making people doubt the science--the longer people doubt the science, the longer politicians can avoid putting controls on industrial polluters, and the longer very influential corporations can continue raking in profits without paying for the costs of their activities.

There are some other very good charts at http://www.skepticalscience.com if you're interested.
 
Leah Sattler
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I have  no doubt that human activity has affected our climate. but looking at that chart it does make me wonder in the big scheme of things if we really are affecting it as much or as permanently as some people want us to believe. what caused the other fluctuations before humans? we are (according to that chart) in a cold era. whose to say that the other warm ups didnt come in jumps and starts also? we mabye just weren't there to see it.

interpreting data from a geological standpoint can miss minor fluctuations over a few 100 or thousand or more years and mask big jumps also. they really only show trends (I would think at least). we have the capability of seeing firsthand those fluctuations and seeing the big jumps in more recent times because we are not solely dependant on the same data. things that might seem alarming may only seem so because we happen to be here to witness them.  that being said, from a time standpoint humans havent been here very long and preserving climatic conditions that enable us to be here might be prudent .

 
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