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Global Warming Graphs

April 16th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Global Warming Graphs at NASA

Global Warming Graphs at NASA

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 Maps at NASA

Global Warming Maps at NASA

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 - sources of greenhouse gases

Global Warming Graphs – sources of greenhouse gases

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).

Global Warming Graphs - 1,000 years

Global Warming Graphs – 1,000 years

And how about 12,000 years?

Global Warming Graphs - 12,000 years

Global Warming Graphs – 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.

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Tags: Environment

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Biodegradable Packaging // Apr 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    These graphs really are great to look over. Something we heard from a geography/astronomy professory was very interesting…he was explaining that many of the planets temperatures have been increasing…could the sun be getting hotter? Or is this just a cycle? If we do our part though to try and decrease greenhouse gases and decrease the use of non-renewable resources It can’t hurt.

  • 2 Noah Lieske // May 7, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Certainly a very sobering picture of where we are headed.

    Noah Lieske

  • 3 Greg Brown // Dec 4, 2009 at 10:50 am

    How deep underwater was London in the year
    1200 AD?

  • 4 Greg Brown // Dec 4, 2009 at 11:08 am

    The Second Industrial Revolution began around 1850, and the US is often cited as the biggest consumer per capita of the earth’s energy resources. So why do we see below average temperatures in the US as late as the 1920′s and even as late as the early 1980′s?

  • 5 Greg Brown // Dec 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    In viewing the above “Global Warming Graphs – 1,000 years” it appears that in the 20th Century, the Earth has maintained a closer to the mean (or average) temperature than at any other century in the past 1,000 years. Yea Global Warming!

  • 6 Greg Brown // Dec 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Carbon 14 readings which are linked to solar activity are grapghed at thei Wikkipeadia link:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon-14_with_activity_labels.png

    Note: first, that the last 200 and especially the last 100 years shows a greater upward trend than all the other suspected culprits. Note secondly, that the levels are always either zooming up or zooming down. There has never been a stable period, regardless of Industrialization.