The global warming graphs showing global temperatures (above) and US temperatures (see figure below) are from the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and the National Aeronautic and Space Agency (NASA). This post is the second segment in our series on global warming.
As shown in these graphs, there has been a steady increase in the mean temperatures in the US and throughout the world, over the last 100 years. As we explained in our post “What Is Global Warming?,” the earth undergoes constant warming to make it habitable, by having natural “greenhouse” gases trap heat radiation from the sun. Since the world started industrializing, however, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. This has led to more heat being trapped within the earth’s atmosphere.
Global Warming Graphs – The Sources
As we can see in the chart below, energy production (and consumption) centered on fossil fuel, is the primary source of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming. There is more to the issue of our dependence on foreign oil, than economic or financial considerations.
Global Warming Graphs – The Deniers
The two graphs below are supposed to counter the evidence posited by respected scientists, worldwide. Deniers of global warming are saying that the time frame of 100 years or so, from which the temperature samples were measured, is too narrow and limited. Basically, what is being argued here is that the consistent spike in global land, ocean, and atmospheric temperatures in the last 100 years is a small anomaly, when you consider temperature data from longer time periods, like 1,000 years (please see graph below).
And how about 12,000 years?
There is a comically fatalistic element in the argument of these fringe elements. The consistent increase in global temperatures in the last 100 years is but a blip in the general scheme of things, they say. Human beings and our industrial activities and consumerist lifestyle are but tiny pieces of the terrestrial mosaic, we can’t possibly have any large and lasting impact on the workings of this planet, they argue. The earth is just going through warming-cooling cycles, look at the trend these last 12,000 years, don’t worry, do nothing.
It’s an anti-intellectual, anti-scientific world view that puts every one, not just the lunatic fringe, in grave danger. It politicizes an issue, that ought to be in the purvey of credible and respected scientists only. What if Al Gore spoke (and won the Nobel Prize) about it? What if Leonardo diCaprio made a movie about it? Does any of that make the danger of global warming and resulting climate change less dangerous and catastrophic?
I don’t argue from a scientific point of view, but from what is glaringly obvious, which, from questionable motives, some people are trying to spin into something else. So, we do nothing. Inspite of the preponderance of evidence? We do nothing, even when we are faced with calamities like super-hurricanes, rising sea levels, melting ice caps, barely livable cities?
I’m afraid when you start to look at the two sides to an issue, you get more questions, rather than straight black and white answers. The global warming graphs, as we have seen above, show conflicting ideas on whether or not humans or our industrial civilization, have contributed significantly to global warming.
Global warming graphs are designed to illuminate a specific school of idea, either supporting or debunking the notion of human-influenced global warming. We each make our own judgements on issues like this. From my personal standpoint, I would give more weight to scientific credibility and meticulous research above any wholesale denial of a phenomenon that we are just beginning to understand by people who are either unqualified to make any empirical assertion or are motivated by politics and greed to question something they hardly comprehend.