27 July 2008

Global Warming

This post may meander a little. I hope you don't mind.

I just watched Burn Up (BBC2). A two-part conspiracy thriller involving global warming, the late great Don S. Davis (who played General Hammond in Stargate SG-1) and a bunch of evil Americans who don't care about climate change. Mediocre really, with an overly emotive first part and perhaps an hour too long. Had some interesting facts though.

So, it's got me thinking about global warming and the solutions thereof. A few questions have come to mind.

Firstly, the completeness of the data. Of course, there's the ice floe things. How reliable are they? However, there's other areas. One cannot extrapolate for an entire planet from a small iceberg, at least I don't think so.

We've got a massive lack of data from the Sahara and places like that. The desert may well be expanding there, but what was it like in the past? European settlers arrived about 500 years ago and I'm not sure what the Yoruba (or the other tribes) were like in the map-making field. Can anyone help?

One that stands out. The highest recorded temperature in Earth history was in El Azizia, Libya, recorded at 58 degrees Celsius (136 degrees Fahrenheit). In 1922. None of the individual continent records is after 1962. Since the global temperature is increasing and that, apparently, would result in more extremes of climate, why have these records not been broken? Surely, we have the technology and we'd note any such records broken.

The reliable data only exists from 1850- 20 years into the Industrial Revolution. Back at this point, we have to rely on anecdotal evidence. Take a look at this graph. It seems that the historians don't agree with each by a small, but possibly signifcant margin. While the global temperature is certainly increasingly...

OK, water shortages. I understand the difference between salt water and fresh water, but surely solar-powered desalination plants aren't that built. Humanity can build the Magnitogorsk blast furnace, so can't it build desalination plants like that.

Nuclear works. 24/7, in a way that other stuff doesn't. Once we've fully sorted out the waste disposal problem (very big holes seem to be the best way to go), I think we need to increase it, although not too much. Solar and other stuff has its place. Maybe not wind farms. I don't like wind farms, unless you can make them into windmills. That's not a half-bad idea...

Kyoto's supposed to be this wonderful thing, but the number of states who have met their targets can apparently be counted on two hands. How does one monitor carbon emissions anyway? Surely a big forest fire would release a massive amount of C02 as well. It's an estimate, isn't it? Which leads me onto the massive fires created after the Tungska impact 100 years ago. That's got to have done something long term. Also Mount St Helens.

Biggest disaster of the 21st Century so far? The 2004 tsunami. Caused by an earthquake. Cyclone Nargis is only about half of that.

Biggest mass death of the 20th Century? World War Two.

I do think that Homo sapiens are a major cause of climate change, but I'd like to see the evidence.

Comments and answers to my questions are welcome. I have comment moderation on, but I'll let more or less anything reasonable through.

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