Friday, 18 October 2013

Global warming vs Global cooling

I watch a lot of documentaries on the telly about all sorts of things in an eclectic/dilletantish, history, archaeology, science, architecture, engineering, religion, statistics, natural disasters, geology etc, and of course I always look for patterns in these things.

(It's what they say inadvertently which is the most interesting, so programmes about economics ignore land values completely, but in the programmes about new transport infrastructure they always mention increases in land values.)

It is also the rule nowadays that wherever possible, a documentary has to mention "climate change" and they usually sneak it in towards the end, saying "Well, this is a lovely coral reef but it won't be hear any more in a few years because the ocean is become more acidic because of man-made climate change" or some such guff (the oceans are becoming less alkaline and not more acidic, for example).

Now, we all know that since the dawn of mankind, there have been temperature fluctuations of quite a few degrees up and down.

We were actually quite well established during the last Ice Age (which ended on 19 July about 10,000 years ago).

For example, the North Sea was so shallow that the bit between Great Britain and the Netherlands was actually dry land and people lived there quite happily. Once things warmed up and the ice started melting, the North Sea filled up quite quickly again and they all scarpered and set up camp somewhere else. Others took the opportunity to head up to Siberia and cross over into Alaska.

The periods when temperatures fell abruptly are primarily after large volcano eruptions (or that meteor which hit the Gulf of Mexico) because of all the dust in the atmosphere blocking the sun, but the cause is not so important. And it is in these sudden cold periods that everything goes horribly wrong, crops fail, diseases spread, lots of people die etc. Or there are mass extinctions after extreme events.

To sum up, humans are quite good at adapting to quite sudden rises in temperature, this has always been the case and there's no reason to assume that this won't hold in future. But we are rubbish at adapting to sudden falls in temperature.

Ergo, even if the Warmenist predictions are correct (and they aren't), then this is not really a problem, what we ought to be more wary of and be working out contingency plans for are sudden falls in temperature.

Just sayin', is all.

3 comments:

A K Haart said...

"what we ought to be more wary of and be working out contingency plans for are sudden falls in temperature."

I agree and some measures such as insulation and energy efficiency help with both eventualities. Windmills and solar panels don't.

Kj said...

And pasta and canned foods in the basement, like the mormons do. Or liquor and guns like some non-mormons do.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, good point.

Kj, as long as you don't have an electric tin opener, I suppose.