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Alternative theories to anthropogenic global warming


Bobby

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There are a few anthropogenic global warming sceptics on this board, but I was wondering what their alternative theories are as to why the Earth is warming and why CO2 levels are rapidly increasing. I wonder because I've noticed that I've not actually ever heard an alternative theory to AGW. Plenty of arguments about how the climate can change naturally and so forth, and plain denials, but no cohesive theory complete with evidence to provide an alternate explanation as to why GW and raidly rising CO2 levels are happening. It doesn't give the AGW deniers much to stand on IMO if all they can do it argue and attack the AGW theory and provide no alternate theory of their own.

So, does anyone have some alternative theories? Or some links to them. Am genuinely interested.

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Posted
  • Location: New York City
  • Location: New York City

    Well for a start I don't think you'll find anyone who'll deny that carbon dioxide levels are increasing due to human activity. The only other major sources of carbon dioxide that I can think of off the top of my head are volcanic activity, decompsition and oceanic degassing. I think the first one can be ruled out as contributing, what about the other two? Frankly I don't know, and its kind of hard to prove the percentage of carbon dioxide emmissions came from a specific sourse.

    Carbon dioxide will play its part in warming the earth, as stated above it is increasing (apparently lol) I suppose the sun could be warming the earth? Something independant of luminosity, since thats what normally gets thrown at that statement, something we have overlooked, or is part of a solar cycle that we don't understand yet.

    Imagine if the tempratures would be increasing even if we were not here? It's happened in the past, there manged to be ice ages and warm spells without our interferance (its hard to imagine I know). Humans don't like change.

    Anyway, not really the grand theories you were after, just some minor musing, I don't have the credentials to be coming up with climatic thoeries.

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    Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL

    Amongst theories I've seen that lie within the bounds of plausibility include sub-sea vents warming the oceans, changes in solar flux, and other GGs increasing (e.g. methane), for which I have seen our bovine friends blamed - which I think is stretching the strings of plausibility to a pinging point beyond the range of the normally audible.

    Energy cannot simply happen; for the planet's budget to be changing there needs to be some combination of increased input and / or reduced radiative loss.

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    I would imagine though if it's a given that CO2 increases are caused by man, and that increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes warming, the only logical conclusion is that man is causing the warming? We have pumped trillions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, not to mention other greenhouse gases such as CFCs, methane etc. Just don't see how all this ISN'T having a huge warming effect. CO2 levels are at the highest levels for at least 400,000 years and have about doubled since the industrial revolution right?

    I can't think of anything else that could cause such huge CO2 increases and general warming. More theories please!

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    Posted
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent
  • Location: Hanley, Stoke-on-trent

    Unfotunately, I'm not a scientist. Fortunately therefore, my future does not depend on the massive amounts of money being pumped into research into AGW, leading to an overwhelming number of people who's livelihoods now depend on this.

    Clearly the Earth does seem to be warming at the moment. How much man is contributing to this I don't know, but I suspect there must be some input.

    I am SICK & TIRED however, of how this wonderful website has been taken over by AGW enthusiasts. Every thread & topic is eventually taken over & becomes yet another pointless argument going over the same ground again & again.

    There must be hundreds of websites dedicated to this. Why are people who just want to talk about the weather NOW & in the immediate future, have every discussion continually hijacked?

    To be honest I'm close to leaving NW for good, if I wanted to be a member of a global warming website I would have joined one.

    Dave

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    Unfotunately, I'm not a scientist. Fortunately therefore, my future does not depend on the massive amounts of money being pumped into research into AGW, leading to an overwhelming number of people who's livelihoods now depend on this.

    Clearly the Earth does seem to be warming at the moment. How much man is contributing to this I don't know, but I suspect there must be some input.

    I am SICK & TIRED however, of how this wonderful website has been taken over by AGW enthusiasts. Every thread & topic is eventually taken over & becomes yet another pointless argument going over the same ground again & again.

    There must be hundreds of websites dedicated to this. Why are people who just want to talk about the weather NOW & in the immediate future, have every discussion continually hijacked?

    To be honest I'm close to leaving NW for good, if I wanted to be a member of a global warming website I would have joined one.

    Dave

    Well, this is the Environment section. On a weather forum. And the biggest topic and weather and the environment at the moment is global warming. What do you expect? I am not hijacking anything with this thread, you are, you don't have read threads about AGW.

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    Posted
  • Location: Larbert
  • Location: Larbert
    Unfotunately, I'm not a scientist. Fortunately therefore, my future does not depend on the massive amounts of money being pumped into research into AGW, leading to an overwhelming number of people who's livelihoods now depend on this.

    Clearly the Earth does seem to be warming at the moment. How much man is contributing to this I don't know, but I suspect there must be some input.

    I am SICK & TIRED however, of how this wonderful website has been taken over by AGW enthusiasts. Every thread & topic is eventually taken over & becomes yet another pointless argument going over the same ground again & again.

    There must be hundreds of websites dedicated to this. Why are people who just want to talk about the weather NOW & in the immediate future, have every discussion continually hijacked?

    To be honest I'm close to leaving NW for good, if I wanted to be a member of a global warming website I would have joined one.

    Dave

    Dave, i hope you don't mind me "jumping in" and applauding what you've written latterly.

    Like you, i get sick and tired of it, still am. I've started a sceptics thread (even that's now full of pro GW stuff), which you don't have to post in, but it's there all the same, to show that not everyone can be easily suckered..

    I digress though.

    Yes, this forum/site is becoming more and more AGW/GW/Climate Change orientated, sadly on threads which have absolutely nothing to do with it, and i suspect people will leave purely through this.

    Damn shame

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......

    they don't know they're born! Try foisting my 'world view' and see how 'lead balloony' you are......

    I do think that the 'AGW' crew have a rude awakening to face as they have spent too much time focusing on one small part of the equation, don't get me wrong you 'Naturals' for your view will be accepted, just on top of the AGW 'calculations'......

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    Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
    Unfotunately, I'm not a scientist. Fortunately therefore, my future does not depend on the massive amounts of money being pumped into research into AGW, leading to an overwhelming number of people who's livelihoods now depend on this.

    Clearly the Earth does seem to be warming at the moment. How much man is contributing to this I don't know, but I suspect there must be some input.

    I am SICK & TIRED however, of how this wonderful website has been taken over by AGW enthusiasts. Every thread & topic is eventually taken over & becomes yet another pointless argument going over the same ground again & again.

    There must be hundreds of websites dedicated to this. Why are people who just want to talk about the weather NOW & in the immediate future, have every discussion continually hijacked?

    To be honest I'm close to leaving NW for good, if I wanted to be a member of a global warming website I would have joined one.

    Dave

    I think that to suggest every thread is taken over by the topic is stretching the point a little. On the environment thread, surprise surprise, it's a seam that runs through many discussions, but on the current weather threads it rarely gets mentioned, and certianly never beaten to death, except in the few threads where it's clearly accessory to the subject being discussed.

    they don't know they're born! Try foisting my 'world view' and see how 'lead balloony' you are......

    I do think that the 'AGW' crew have a rude awakening to face as they have spent too much time focusing on one small part of the equation, don't get me wrong you 'Naturals' for your view will be accepted, just on top of the AGW 'calculations'......

    Why, why, why does this myth persist? GW I honestly have come to expect far better from you. So far as I am aware there is not a SINGLE AGW proponent on here who claims that all (or anywhere near it) of the current warming is down to man alone.

    If we made two queues: one of people on here who believe that if we are warming man is absolutely nothing to do with it, and the other with those who believe in AGW and attrinbute all warming to it, I know which queue would be the longer.

    ...

    Yes, this forum/site is becoming more and more AGW/GW/Climate Change orientated, sadly on threads which have absolutely nothing to do with it, and i suspect people will leave purely through this.

    Damn shame

    It might be just that, as one of this winters polls demonstrated, more people are coming to realise that we might just be warming. As I keep saying, you can only claim "bad luck" so often before it starts to ring rather hollow.

    Dave, i hope you don't mind me "jumping in" and applauding what you've written latterly.

    Like you, i get sick and tired of it, still am. I've started a sceptics thread (even that's now full of pro GW stuff), which you don't have to post in, but it's there all the same, to show that not everyone can be easily suckered..

    I digress though.

    Yes, this forum/site is becoming more and more AGW/GW/Climate Change orientated, sadly on threads which have absolutely nothing to do with it, and i suspect people will leave purely through this.

    Damn shame

    And the biggest irony of all in the above?

    Here's a thread in which - Magpie apart - the contribution has actually been additive in the direction posed by the initiator, and since that was Magpie who am I to deny him a deviation on his own thread? And your first contribution, having moaned elsewhere about your pro-anti GW threads being hijacked, is to moan about hijacking in a more or less unhijacked thread. Talk about seeing spooks in the shadows...

    I could be forgiven that you're arguing more with yourself than you are with the rest of us.

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    Posted
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
  • Weather Preferences: Hot & Sunny, Cold & Snowy
  • Location: Mytholmroyd, West Yorks.......
    Why, why, why does this myth persist? GW I honestly have come to expect far better from you. So far as I am aware there is not a SINGLE AGW proponent on here who claims that all (or anywhere near it) of the current warming is down to man alone.

    If we made two queues: one of people on here who believe that if we are warming man is absolutely nothing to do with it, and the other with those who believe in AGW and attrinbute all warming to it, I know which queue would be the longer.

    It might be just that, as one of this winters polls demonstrated, more people are coming to realise that we might just be warming. As I keep saying, you can only claim "bad luck" so often before it starts to ring rather hollow.

    Woopsie S.F., I might have added I've been drinking and liable to vacuous amount of watery banter......It was a poke not a 'truth'

    You probably know I'm focused and a ledge of ice 'Darn Sarf' and it started as just a thought from me with my 'A' level Geog Knowledge and that that I gained from my Combined Science degree studies but now, as I scan for relavent literature/papers I find that similar notions are being had by folks in areas that can make a difference to wise us up to the fact that 'warming' happens at many differing speeds. The past collapses of the WAIS have happened with modest temperature rises above present (2c) but most 'accellerated' from a point below our current temps into the +2c position over short periods of time. We have warmed slowly (in relation to past warmings) and are now accellerating our 'warming'.

    This slow period of 'warming' has allowed dynamic changes in the ice Sheets/shelves that are now 'blossoming ' under the recent rapid climate shift leading to the point of being primed (in sub-surface streams,lakes,damed lakes) to the point that only a small 'event' could avalanche a LOT.

    It is this 'retro' understanding of past 'natural' cataclisms that so ticks me off when I read more and more 'latest thing' from this disintergration, one more "Ooooh ,would you look at this!!!", article. .........IPCC doesn't even hint at this, the latest 'surge' of measurements were this past year (far to late to get 'validation' for inclusion in the IPCC report) so lets not mention it. Pah!

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    Posted
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
  • Location: Near Newton Abbot or east Dartmoor, Devon
    Dave, i hope you don't mind me "jumping in" and applauding what you've written latterly.

    Like you, i get sick and tired of it, still am. I've started a sceptics thread (even that's now full of pro GW stuff), which you don't have to post in, but it's there all the same, to show that not everyone can be easily suckered..

    I digress though.

    Yes, this forum/site is becoming more and more AGW/GW/Climate Change orientated, sadly on threads which have absolutely nothing to do with it, and i suspect people will leave purely through this.

    Damn shame

    Saying people can be 'suckered' is to attack their character not what they say - it does not help make your case, it's a distraction. You make your case by presenting evidence we can debate, not by attacking people.

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    Posted
  • Location: A small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Guildford, Surrey
  • Location: A small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Guildford, Surrey

    To take this thread back on-topic for a moment, I think it is rather unfair to ask "naysayers" to posit an alternative theory to the generally accepted view of AGW. Here's why: I doubt any of the skeptics on these boards are climatologists, and as such would not be able to construct a valid alternative anyway - scientists working in the field haven't yet put forward a complete alternative to AGW, as far as I am aware. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't valid reasons why people should have misgivings about the well-publicised account of AGW.

    I have said before that I suspect natural factors are not being given full credit for their role in what is called "Modern Warming". Unless there are serious flaws in measurement techniques I don't see that it is possible to quibble over CO2 increases. But...

    If it is taken as read that CO2 increase follows temperature increase (as would seem to be the case historically - although the Vostok Ice Core graphs are a little low in resolution, so there is some debate over that), then at least some of the CO2 increase could be attributable to oceanic degassing. I do not deny, though, that mankind puts CO2 into the atmosphere.

    The problem is that experiments showing CO2's warming effect take place in a small-scale, sealed and controlled environment. The classic example involves a glass container with an inch or two of water in the bottom and an intense light shining down on it. The box's temperature stabilises, then CO2 is added to the portion of the box filled with air. Sure enough, the temperature increases as we would expect, until it finally reaches a new thermal equilibrium.

    This experiment is too simplistic, though. Firstly, the Earth is not a perfectly sealed system. Secondly, the Earth has far more than just air and water on it. Although the basic principle of the experiment is sound, the true complexity of the Earth's climatological system is disregarded to such an extent that the results of the experiment are essential rendered meaningless.

    So to accept CO2 increases is not to accept AGW. There is also no need for a full "alternative" theory, necessarily, but rather a re-jigging of the figures attributed to various factors in the theory as it currently stands.

    The devil is in the details :)

    C-Bob

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Before I start I'd just like to say I've got the mother of all colds and a sizeable dose of jet lag so please be gentle if I talk nonesense.

    I am a sceptic but not in the sense of total denial, more along the lines of I think there's more at play here than just humans and I'm not convinced the science so far has taken Mother Nature into account enough.

    I've read lots both AGW and anti AGW, scientific papers and popular media in order to have what I hope is informed scepticism.

    One thing which stood out for me was something I read about under water volcanicity in the oceans; I think the quoted figure for completed underwater mapping of the world's ocean floor was 5%, leaving a whopping 95% as an unknown. If there are huge swathes of the ocean floor with active volcanos we know nothing about could this be the cause of the rise in sea temperatures? Surely this would also release vast quantities of Co2 into the atmosphere?

    I wonder what the more knowledgeable folk on here think? Is this nonesense or could it possibly help explain the steep rise in recent years?

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
    Perhaps I misunderstand you, but I can't conceive of the amount of energy required to heat the oceans noticeably

    Don't think you've misunderstood, I was asking if anyone here thought it were possible it could have a sizeable contribution to temps/Co2 or was it just some random theory which would have a negligible effect. I don't know enough to judge the theory myself and was hoping for some input from others more knowlegable. I take it from your reply you think the theory is somewhat flawed? I figured it would take something akin to an underwater Yellowstone to have an effect, possible I guess but I can't see how we would have failed to notice it thus far. Anyone have any ideas?

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
    I think the quoted figure for completed underwater mapping of the world's ocean floor was 5%, leaving a whopping 95% as an unknown.

    I think (but I might be wrong) that the location of most of the volcanic activity is known or mapped, as it tends to ocur in quite specific areas. Any geologists out there know?

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    Posted
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
  • Location: Steeton, W Yorks, 270m ASL
    I think (but I might be wrong) that the location of most of the volcanic activity is known or mapped, as it tends to ocur in quite specific areas. Any geologists out there know?

    Correct: it tends to occur at late boundaries, although this isn't exclusively so; just like we humans don't only ache at our joints. The Hawaiian achipelago is the best example of a non boundary feature.

    I've always found it fascinating that the centre of the earth is molten. Wherever would the people of Iceland get their hot water from if it weren't?

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
    Correct: it tends to occur at late boundaries, although this isn't exclusively so; just like we humans don't only ache at our joints. The Hawaiian achipelago is the best example of a non boundary feature.

    I've always found it fascinating that the centre of the earth is molten. Wherever would the people of Iceland get their hot water from if it weren't?

    Excellent: my memory of plate techtonics, mid-oceanic rifts and hot spots is not as rusty as I thought! :lol: :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: Dunblane
  • Location: Dunblane

    Ocean warming - yup, the energy required to heat an ocean by even one degree is quite mind boggling.

    Take the Arctic Ocean, its area is around 14,056,000km2. It's a shallow ocean, with an extremely approximate average depth of 1.5km. This means its volume is 2,108,400 km3, let's say ~ 2.1 x10^6 km3...so the Arctic Ocean weighs ~2.1 x 10^18 kg. The specific heat of a substance is the energy required to raise an amount (unit mass here) by one degree. Now for even more simplifications - the heat capacity of seawater varies with temperature (which varies with depth...and density etc) but let's say it takes 3900 joules to raise a kilogram of seawater by 1 degree. Apply that to the Arctic Ocean and you need something in the order of 8 x 10^21 joules (or 8 zetta joules!)

    To put this into context, the Hiroshima bomb released around 8.4 x 10^13 joules of energy. Mount St. Helens in 1980 released 1.9 x 10^18 joules...so you need about 400 volcanic eruptions of the size of Mt. St. Helens to warm the Arctic Ocean alone by 1 degree.

    As Roo and SF point out, the locations of underwater volcanism are fairly well known. Besides, volcanoes are usually associated with seismic activity wich can be pin-pointed very accurately. Hawaii is one example of a 'hotspot'....Iceland lies on both a rift and a 'hotspot'....lucky Icelanders.

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    Posted
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
  • Location: St. Albans, Herts
    Ocean warming - yup, the energy required to heat an ocean by even one degree is quite mind boggling.

    Hiya Redshift and thanks for that: shoulda known we could count on you! :lol:

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

    Thanks folks, didn't think it rang true.

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    Posted
  • Location: Redhill, Surrey
  • Weather Preferences: Southerly tracking LPs, heavy snow. Also 25c and calm
  • Location: Redhill, Surrey
    Thanks folks, didn't think it rang true.

    Its not that it doesn't ring true, more and more underwater volcanic eruptuions are being found with evidence of far more acrtivity than previously thought or imagined. I think that one is 'open' shall we say.

    I am not an AGW believer buit I certainly believe in GW and Global cooling and I think that still will occur in cycles.

    There are many players in the global climate game. We have pumped vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere but the percentage of CO2 as a whole is still minute, about 2%. A change of 1% irradiance from the sun is the equivalent effect of doubling CO2 in the atmosphere from todays levels so the sun for me is a much bigger player.

    I have always posed the question yet never got an answer as regards to CO2 levels have been as high if not higher in the past. Every time the planet then plunged into an ice age...it clearly didn't keep warming. Why? What is different with our CO2. CO2 is CO2.

    If CO2 is THE driver as pushed by the full on AGW bodies what suddenly overrode that and why should we now just continue to warm? CO2 is a GHG but are we overcooking its importance/influence.

    We approach Gleissberg minima with initial bottoming out in 2032, this minima is anticipated to equal/be on the scale of the Maunder and Dalton/Wolf minima which brought mini ice ages. This is not to say that an iceage is coming but on that basis alone largescale global cooling could occur. We don't have too long to wait to see if that theory occurs/holds up or can be binned.

    Also the earth does NOT orbit the sun in a perfect circle followed each year on and sometimes our orbit can have a serious climatic affect.

    The oceans have warmed by the same amount and the same rate as the atmosphere. I cannot see how the atmosphere can warm the oceans at the same rate.

    BFTP

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