1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby MikeDamrat » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:27 pm UTC

(Unless you're a meaniehead and you just want to argue online. Then it is immensely useful).


When did "meaniehead" come to apply to something other than people who argue about topics related to social science/social justice? I've seen it used twice today to refer to people on the side of climate change, and as something of a self-proclaimed meaniehead, found it very odd.

Does it now just mean "people on the internet who annoy me"?
Last edited by MikeDamrat on Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:29 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby QuakeIV » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:29 pm UTC

nash1429 wrote:The purpose of this plot isn't to present scientific evidence, but to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. Instead of nitpicking about the way the plot was constructed, would you care to offer any criticism of the underlying science?


If that were the case, you would think that there would be less emphasis on the evidence.

e: Mike, I think he is referring to people who's main motivation is to have a dramatic argument on the internet, with the implication that it generally doesn't achieve anything. What this thread is turning into, for instance. I'm mostly here for my own entertainment, I only hope that things stay civil enough to avoid trouble with the mods.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:41 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:
nash1429 wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:(Nevermind the stuff I mentioned earlier about it being two datasets with different characteristics tacked onto each other. Onward soldiers!)


The purpose of this plot isn't to present scientific evidence, but to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. Instead of nitpicking about the way the plot was constructed, would you care to offer any criticism of the underlying science?


I'm not arguing the science, merely arguing that plots that attempt to communicate scientific conclusions to the public should be scientifically honest. If you can't do that, then you have a big problem.


You are doing a disingenuous two-step between "this plot might potentially obscure important details" and "this plot is scientifically dishonest."

What level of detail is necessary for public communication to qualify as "scientifically honest?" Is it dishonest to show drawings of the solar system that aren't to scale? What about using the phrase "popping in and out of existence" to describe subatomic behavior?

QuakeIV wrote:
nash1429 wrote:The purpose of this plot isn't to present scientific evidence, but to communicate scientific conclusions to the public. Instead of nitpicking about the way the plot was constructed, would you care to offer any criticism of the underlying science?
If that were the case, you would think that there would be less emphasis on the evidence.


Showing a plot of global mean temperature isn't emphasizing the evidence. If you want evidence, go read Assessment Report 5.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:43 pm UTC

MikeDamrat wrote:
(Unless you're a meaniehead and you just want to argue online. Then it is immensely useful).


When did "meaniehead" come to apply to something other than people who argue about topics related to social science/social justice? I've seen it used twice today to refer to people on the side of climate change, and as something of a self-proclaimed meaniehead, found it very odd.

Does it now just mean "people on the internet who annoy me"?


I use the term whenever people overtly try to use climate change as as catalyst for adopting sweeping political positions. Despite the fact that many of these positions have a scope of impact that is truly insignificant*, they continue to argue as though they are saviors of the planet. I believe these sorts of people are truly deserving of the pejorative label, even if it's technically a stretch.

* Best example I've found yet: I'm a software developer. I once gave someone the advice, "Engineers are expensive. Hardware is cheap. Design your systems so that scaling is as simple as adding new hardware--even if you have to live with less-than-optimal code for now." Someone promptly accused me of destroying the planet because of the carbon footprint that the extra electricity would produce. ... meaniehead is my insult of choice for idiots like that. Perhaps there's a better one. meaniehead works for me.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby MikeDamrat » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:46 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:meaniehead is my insult of choice for idiots like that. Perhaps there's a better one. meaniehead works for me.


Hah, fair enough! Just be ready to have to explain your own personal language here and there.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:50 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Someone promptly accused me of destroying the planet because of the carbon footprint that the extra electricity would produce. ... meaniehead is my insult of choice for idiots like that. Perhaps there's a better one. meaniehead works for me.


So, yeah, "people on the internet who annoy me." I just call those people idiots.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Muswell » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:57 pm UTC

Everyone else seems to be seeing the science.

I'm seeing that RM spelt "Iliad" correctly for when it was set but incorrectly for when it was composed.

Sometimes it's lonely being a Classics graduate...

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:58 pm UTC

Maybe it's just me, but I read that inset about the smoothing-out of the historical data (particularly, about how small and short an aberration would need to be to get smoothed out) as specifically anticipating the response that maybe the current sharp uptick is just an aberration that occurs all the time but is lost in the noise of historical data.

That is to say, it's preemptively saying that things like we're seeing in the recent data are very unlikely to have been present but gotten smoothed out of the historical data. It kind of is the error bars of this informal graph.

That said, maybe a clearer way of presenting that would have been to blur the line for historical data (opacity indicating probability) and have it come into sharper focus in the recent data to reflect the greater precision in recent data.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby dtilque » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:10 pm UTC

StClair wrote:
tomintx wrote:
richP wrote:How many others told themselves "wait for it" when they saw Meghan and Cueball, and "there it is" when Oregon flooded?

Mostly, it was Washington that was flooded. On a Thursday...
https://www.amazon.com/Bretzs-Flood-Remarkable-Geologist-Greatest/dp/1570616310/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473704195&sr=1-1&keywords=bretz+flood


Oregon too.

I live at the southern end of the Willamette River valley, aka the Willamette flood plain - a broad stretch of almost completely flat land between two lines of hills and mountains, that was originally formed when the ice dam(s) to the north finally broke loose. It stopped here, this was the high-water mark; south of us, the terrain is much rougher and varied, all carved by individual streams rather than one massive deluge.


The flooding in eastern Washington was significantly different than that in the Willamette valley. In Washington, the flooding was high speed and scouring. Because the area is rather dry, you can still see places where the ground was eroded down to bedrock, since there hasn't been long enough for more soil to cover it. Or you can go to Dry Falls and imagine the huge amount of water that created that feature.

In the Willamette valley, the flooding was a backup flood. There was too much water going down the Columbia to easily flow through that channel, so when it hit a wide spot, it backed up and flooded that area. Since it wasn't a rapidly flowing flood, it left a bunch of clay that originally came from eastern Washington.


commodorejohn wrote:
HiFranc wrote:I can't remember where I heard it but I'm sure that archaeologists now have evidence that the Americas were populated before the land bridge (that is now the Bering Straits) formed.

I'd be really interested to hear more about this. Modern explorers have demonstrated that ships from ancient Egypt could have been used for trans-Atlantic crossings, but I've never heard of such a thing being seriously put forward as a possible historic event.


That's not what is proposed. The most recent hypothesis is that the Americas were populated by people coming from Asia by boat along the coast. They wouldn't have to make a long sea journey, just hopping from one section of the coast to another. North America and Asia were connected throughout the glaciation, but land passage was blocked by ice. (Beringia was mostly ice-free except in the mountains, but there were glaciers to its east.) The problem with support for the coastal migration is that sea level was much lower then, so all the evidence is now underwater.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby RGB-es » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:18 pm UTC

[~6300 BCE] As seas rice to near their modern levels, Britain is cut off from mainland Europe


That deserves a Brexit joke.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby niauropsaka » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:54 pm UTC

Sofie wrote:When I say "the climate has changed before", I think of millions of years ago, when there weren't any polar icecaps.

That's on an even longer time scale. I think this graph is pretty good at showing what a big difference relatively small differences in global temperature can represent.

Note that the European 'Little Ice Age' and the 'Year Without a Summer' (1816) are completely smoothed out and invisible on this graph. That's terrifying.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Weeks » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:08 pm UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:* Best example I've found yet: I'm a software developer. I once gave someone the advice, "Engineers are expensive. Hardware is cheap. Design your systems so that scaling is as simple as adding new hardware--even if you have to live with less-than-optimal code for now." Someone promptly accused me of destroying the planet because of the carbon footprint that the extra electricity would produce. ... meaniehead is my insult of choice for idiots like that. Perhaps there's a better one. meaniehead works for me.
...do you even know what meaniehead means?
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:11 pm UTC

Weeks wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:* Best example I've found yet: I'm a software developer. I once gave someone the advice, "Engineers are expensive. Hardware is cheap. Design your systems so that scaling is as simple as adding new hardware--even if you have to live with less-than-optimal code for now." Someone promptly accused me of destroying the planet because of the carbon footprint that the extra electricity would produce. ... meaniehead is my insult of choice for idiots like that. Perhaps there's a better one. meaniehead works for me.
...do you even know what meaniehead means?


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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby PeteP » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:18 pm UTC

Eh, meaniehead is an useful word since it is very likely that people using it as an insult won't have anything worthwhile to say. So using it like that might be weird but it still acts as an useful warning sign so whatever.

About the strip itself, neat strip. (Though imo the argument is weak regardless of past fluctuations. That the climate changing before neither implies that this change can't harm us nor does it mean we can't be causing it since something happening naturally does not mean it can't happen because of us.)
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby CZeke » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:19 pm UTC

doogly wrote:heritage.org? you comin in here with bad jokes?


On the contrary, the way Randall presented this strip, that's exactly the kind of source we should be looking at. He said "When people say 'the climate has changed before', this is what they're talking about." No, this is what they're talking about.

Anyway, dismissing based on source instead of actually pointing out the problems is crummy science. nash1429 is much more on point:

nash1429 wrote:It even says, right on your plot, that the data is limited to a random latitude band in the Northern Hemisphere. Can you show us one of the global mean temperature instead?


I agree, that would be a more useful thing to see. At the same time, Randall's timescale is carefully chosen too. It seems to be a widespread problem. Check out this preliminary poke at Google Images. You'll notice two competing kinds of graph, and those trying to show recent warming always use short timescales like this comic does (usually much shorter), while those trying to show constant variation like to exaggerate the y-axis.

The basic problem with the data we have is probably unsolvable. There's no way to get day-to-day temperature readings from millennia ago -- we can only get large averages that smooth out variation. When the question at hand is all about variation ("Should we panic over these recent trends or do they happen a lot?"), that's not much help.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby thunk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:00 am UTC

Yeah, Randall's graph puts decadal variations in sharp focus while smoothing out millenium-scale variations, whereas the Heritage graph makes decadal and millenium-scale fluctuations look about the same.

Of course, there is evidence that past climate changes like the 8.2 kyr event took place on a decadal time scale, and as the notes indicate, this was often Bad News for people at the time.

The idea is sound, but the execution could have been done better.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:27 am UTC

thunk wrote:The idea is sound, but the execution could have been done better.


Ultimately, we're all silly for arguing about the scientific accuracy of a webcomic. It's definitely not egregiously wrong, and IMO it's about as accurate as anything you can reasonably expect in this medium.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby mschmidt62 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:28 am UTC

The smoothing in the older data relative to the more recent data would be more concern if we had little to no idea of what causes these changes. And we have to admit that there is still a lot of uncertainty about the causes. But this "Earth Temperature Timeline" suggests that, if present hypotheses about the causes of climate changes are correct, we are in for changes unprecedented in human "history" and "prehistory."

The transition to the Younger Dryas may well have been more abrupt than Randall's illustration suggests. But the current most likely explanation for the Younger Dryas doesn't suggest an ongoing process. On the other hand, if greenhouse gas concentrations are the cause of the warming observed in the last century or so, there is every reason to believe that, without drastic action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, we'll be looking at a steep temperature that won't be reversed for centuries if not millennia. The evidence that greenhouse gas emissions are the principal cause of climate change is pretty good--much better than any evidence that the Younger Dryas was a more abrupt change than what Randall's illustration depicts.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:36 am UTC

CZeke wrote:Anyway, dismissing based on source instead of actually pointing out the problems is crummy science.

I'm a busy man, and if I see dog shit on the sidewalk, I don't go start pipetting it into some tubes and making a mess with my beard dandruff all wondering if maybe it's actually just stinky oddly shaped mud.

The science is not undetermined on the nature of climate change. There is zero ambiguity or nuance leaving holes the size that heritage or other denialists could try to fit themselves into. It's equivalent to evolution and gravity. Sure, there is more science to be done with the modeling, just like with the others. We're pretty solid on the fundamentals and to suggest otherwise is a gross disservice to the people who have to live on this place with you. It's just rude to come in here with that bullshit graph.


Oh, and the little ice age in europe doesn't show up because europe is very small. This was specifically addressed in the comic.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby poslfit » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:03 am UTC

Is this the right place to report typos (ILLIAD for ILIAD, and ATILLA for ATTILA) in the current comic?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby doogly » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:15 am UTC

It is not.

But I think Illiad was on purpose. Because it is ill, in the dope way.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby thunk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:30 am UTC

Similarly, "Ghengis" for "Genghis".
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Stargazer71 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:35 am UTC

nash1429 wrote:What level of detail is necessary for public communication to qualify as "scientifically honest?" Is it dishonest to show drawings of the solar system that aren't to scale?


Nice straw man.

There aren't many people out there who need convincing about the existence and position of the planets, and even if there were, you wouldn't use a drawing like that as evidence to try to convince someone.

Or, to make it slightly more practical, I would never use a drawing such as that as a way of proving to someone that Pluto isn't a planet**. If I did, it would be disingenuous. Randall, however, is using this diagram as a way of trying to prove a point, which tells me that it is fair game to point out obvious flaws.


( **It's ok Pluto. We still love you. Just not in that way :D )

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:38 am UTC

Someone who shall remain nameless wasn't paying close enough attention and accidentally disapproved a handful of posts that were meant to be approved. Go ahead and try those again.

(Remember that first posts are not to contain links, though. There's a huge amount of spam we deal with, and noticing a url while skimming a pending post is a surefire way to get it disapproved.)
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Minerva » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:43 am UTC

Rzah wrote:
Stargazer71 wrote:Am I missing something? the graph in the comic doesn't change scale.


But maybe it should change scale. Is this completely linear time scale really that useful? Obviously it's a fun excuse for an enormous comic, but for the best possible understanding of the changes industrialisation has made, perhaps we should switch the scale somewhere about the time of Newcomen and Watt.

Also, given the amount of social media coverage this one has received and the kinds of people I've seen sharing it, it would be great if perhaps next week Randall could turn his attention to the "stop calling yourself a climate change activist and then screaming that nuclear power is an evil Monsanto conspiracy" problem. Using Randall's influence here would be really valuable for climate change mitigation.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:16 am UTC

Sofie wrote:When I say "the climate has changed before", I think of millions of years ago, when there weren't any polar icecaps.
There also weren't any people, so the relevance of that climate change to what we're seeing today is pretty negligible.

No one who's worried about climate change has that position on the basis that Earth's temperature has never changed before in the past 4.5 billion years. We're worried on the basis that it hasn't changed this much in human history, and when it has changed significantly the effects have been pretty bad.

It doesn't matter on the year or decade scale that maybe the tundra will become available for planting if the planet gets warmer, because that's not where any of the existing agricultural infrastructure is. If the current sources of the world's food become unproductive, we're fucked regardless of how much of northern latitudes eventually becomes arable.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Crissa » Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:45 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:Now here's the question--are there periods of sharp warming/cooling in the last 20,000 years being smoothed out in this graph?

The answer is actually very simple: I don't know. And without additional information, neither do you. This graph is not useful. (Unless you're a meaniehead and you just want to argue online. Then it is immensely useful).


No, the answer is that they just used a slur, and there are trees that old which tell us no, there are not variations as large as the change in the last hundred years.

CZeke wrote:
doogly wrote:heritage.org? you comin in here with bad jokes?


On the contrary, the way Randall presented this strip, that's exactly the kind of source we should be looking at. He said "When people say 'the climate has changed before', this is what they're talking about." No, this is what they're talking about.

Naming times when human civilization didn't exist - or in fact, how about times when the Earth couldn't support human life at all?

http://www.skepticalscience.com/humans_ ... anges.html

Really, Heritage's point is a fallacy. Humans didn't live then. And all they do is wave a chart - they don't bother to know what the differences between that climate and todays climate are. What the axial tilt and orbit was, what the irradiance was, what CO2 was.

What happens to human life on the planet when those irradiance levels return?

Why would we look at the climate before humans and say. 'Oh, well, we shouldn't bother to examine the atmosphere at all!'?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby nash1429 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:28 am UTC

Stargazer71 wrote:
nash1429 wrote:What level of detail is necessary for public communication to qualify as "scientifically honest?" Is it dishonest to show drawings of the solar system that aren't to scale?


Nice straw man.

There aren't many people out there who need convincing about the existence and position of the planets, and even if there were, you wouldn't use a drawing like that as evidence to try to convince someone.

Or, to make it slightly more practical, I would never use a drawing such as that as a way of proving to someone that Pluto isn't a planet**. If I did, it would be disingenuous. Randall, however, is using this diagram as a way of trying to prove a point, which tells me that it is fair game to point out obvious flaws.


( **It's ok Pluto. We still love you. Just not in that way :D )


No, seriously: what level of detail do you require for public communication to qualify as "scientifically honest?" This is a webcomic intended to contextualize the idea that predicted warming is insignificant (look at the subtitle). It even addresses the smoothing of historical data relative to current data!

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Alaska Girl » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:38 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:No one who's worried about climate change has that position on the basis that Earth's temperature has never changed before in the past 4.5 billion years. We're worried on the basis that it hasn't changed this much in human history, and when it has changed significantly the effects have been pretty bad.
It doesn't matter on the year or decade scale that maybe the tundra will become available for planting if the planet gets warmer, because that's not where any of the existing agricultural infrastructure is. If the current sources of the world's food become unproductive, we're f*d regardless of how much of northern latitudes eventually becomes arable.

Or maybe we'll just gain some widespread luxuriant rainforest growth like the dinosaurs enjoyed? Whatever happens, surely almighty evolution can rise above one more warming period? Perhaps we'll all get gills. :lol:

Given the current apparently precipitate warming models, I'm surprised New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, etc., aren't underwater yet. I mean, look what happened to the poor land bridges last time we gained a few degrees.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:42 am UTC

You know that evolution is driven primarily by things dying, right? It's not like organisms go "oh, environment is changing, better mutate faster!" The ones least suited just start dying. So if you think evolution is going to alleviate concerns about human survival of climate change, you're basically saying it's OK that most current humans die, because the few who might survive might eventually repopulate the world.

Also, it's not so much survival of the human species that's of concern, but of present human civilizations and all the many individuals who depend on them. Even if (biologically) unadapted humans can (socially) adapt to the new climate eventually, which is probably true given the range of extremes that humans presently live in, that doesn't make it not a problem for most of present civilization to collapse and the worldwide populate to plummet in the meantime.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Pyrite » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:46 am UTC

On a side note, did it really take us 500 years to go from working copper to working gold?

I mean, gold nuggets show up in riverbeds and you can melt the stuff in a campfire. What took them so long?

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby yoyomon » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:52 am UTC

nash1429 wrote:
Amaroq wrote:Surely Randall didn't cherry pick data on purpose, did he?


Are you serious? Who's more likely to be cherry-picking: Randall or the Heritage Foundation?

It even says, right on your plot, that the data is limited to a random latitude band in the Northern Hemisphere. Can you show us one of the global mean temperature instead?


Appeals to authority are pretty weak. The latitude band isn't random, it is because that's where the ice cores are found. Randall's data is also not a "global mean temperature" unless he's invented a time machine.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Alaska Girl » Tue Sep 13, 2016 3:56 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:You know that evolution is driven primarily by things dying, right? ... So if you think evolution is going to alleviate concerns about human survival of climate change, you're basically saying it's OK that most current humans die, because the few who might survive might eventually repopulate the world.
To clarify, I do know that, and no I'm not okay with that outcome. I was being sarcastic, in part riffing off extremists who say the earth would benefit from the extinction of humans. Thanks for not being one of them.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:32 am UTC

Well depending on your metric, "the Earth" almost certainly *would* benefit from our sudden disappearance. The main problems are that (1) every plausible way we might go extinct would bring lots of other stuff with us and, of course, (2) we non-extremists don't care about benefiting an Earth that doesn't include us.
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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby QuakeIV » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:54 am UTC

The earth is just a bunch of metal with a thin layer of glorified space dust on top. I don't think it really cares about the machinations of that dust at this point in time.

The natural world might benefit by us dying off somewhat, we do mess with nature all the time for our benefit. However I would point out that we are probably the only force on this planet that could ever hope to prevent, for instance, a cometary extinction event. Nature would certainly benefit from any efforts on our part to block that.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby canonical.chris » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:57 am UTC

jozwa wrote:History is so cool. No pun intended.

Also, is "Atilla" a typo or an alternative spelling?


Wikipedia thinks it is the main spelling: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attila

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby mschmidt62 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:18 am UTC

But maybe it should change scale. Is this completely linear time scale really that useful? Obviously it's a fun excuse for an enormous comic, but for the best possible understanding of the changes industrialisation has made, perhaps we should switch the scale somewhere about the time of Newcomen and Watt.


No. What is great about this "comic" (graphic, illustration, whatever) is that it illustrates how gradual previous changes have been compared to what we've seen in the last century. Actively scroll through it and it becomes a dynamic indicator of temperature through time. If you changed the time scale towards the end, you would be doing exactly what we humans have generally, throughout history, tended to do naturally--think of the past as being a lot shorter than it really is.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby tomintx » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:42 am UTC

dtilque wrote:
StClair wrote:
tomintx wrote:
richP wrote:How many others told themselves "wait for it" when they saw Meghan and Cueball, and "there it is" when Oregon flooded?

Mostly, it was Washington that was flooded. On a Thursday...
https://www.amazon.com/Bretzs-Flood-Remarkable-Geologist-Greatest/dp/1570616310/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473704195&sr=1-1&keywords=bretz+flood


Oregon too.

I live at the southern end of the Willamette River valley, aka the Willamette flood plain - a broad stretch of almost completely flat land between two lines of hills and mountains, that was originally formed when the ice dam(s) to the north finally broke loose. It stopped here, this was the high-water mark; south of us, the terrain is much rougher and varied, all carved by individual streams rather than one massive deluge.


The flooding in eastern Washington was significantly different than that in the Willamette valley. In Washington, the flooding was high speed and scouring. Because the area is rather dry, you can still see places where the ground was eroded down to bedrock, since there hasn't been long enough for more soil to cover it. Or you can go to Dry Falls and imagine the huge amount of water that created that feature.

In the Willamette valley, the flooding was a backup flood. There was too much water going down the Columbia to easily flow through that channel, so when it hit a wide spot, it backed up and flooded that area. Since it wasn't a rapidly flowing flood, it left a bunch of clay that originally came from eastern Washington.



Take a drive out to the Spokane area. Drive between Grand Coulee Dam and Spokane. Look at the Dry Falls. It's just mind boggling to contemplate what it took to create all of that. This flood over-topped Crown Point, where the Vista House is. The flood more or less created the Columbia River Gorge in a couple of days, starting on a Thursday.

Absolutely affected Oregon, just affected Washington more.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:28 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:for most of present civilization to collapse and the worldwide populate to plummet in the meantime.


Then we seem to be boned either way, as I'm not sure how you feed 7 billion of us on a zero-fossil-fuels economy. Or keep the ones who don't live in the tropics warm in the wintertime. (Or, generously, to do those things with an early-1800s-level-of-emissions-with-today's-tech, fossil-fuels-economy.) Never mind that I've heard "land use changes" since the 1800s (i.e. making fields and pastures out of everything roughly horizontal) are influential in global warming.

Charge forward, and hope that we have the tech to fix it by the time we need to. Upper-atmospheric aerosols, space mirrors, massive carbon-sequestering biotech, whatever.

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Re: 1732: "Earth Temperature Timeline"

Postby paha arkkitehti » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:04 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:Then we seem to be boned either way, as I'm not sure how you feed 7 billion of us on a zero-fossil-fuels economy. Or keep the ones who don't live in the tropics warm in the wintertime. (Or, generously, to do those things with an early-1800s-level-of-emissions-with-today's-tech, fossil-fuels-economy.)


Those are easy. Feeding us all simply means changing to a more vegetarian diet (see: http://xkcd.com/1338/) and change the agricultural policy so that we would farm our stuff where the climate is good (like Africa) instead of using massive amounts of money and energy to cultivate things in near arctic environment (say, Northern Europe).

And you can get more than enough warmth from sun and geothermal sources to keep us all nice and warm. Drill a hole couple of kilometeres down, and there's more than enough warmth to heat a well insulated town forever.


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