The name comes from the effects you would see in a real greenhouse. The Sun's energy gets trapped inside the greenhouse by the glass. Thereby keeping the environment warm enough for plants to stay alive even in the dead of winter. The process is the same for the Earth (see fig 1), without a greenhouse effect the planet would not be able to sustain life as we know it.
Permantent gases in the atmosphere by percent are:
(Note that these two permanent gases together comprise 99% of the atmosphere)
Variable gases in the atmosphere and typical percentage values are:
Water vapor 0 to 4%
Carbon Dioxide 0.035%
I should add, everything in the atmosphere, including dust, contribute to the "Green House" effect.
Global Warming and history.
In fig 3 you can see the two most recent warm-ups (before the current one) were the Medieval and Roman warm periods. The Roman Warm Period (RWP) has been proposed as a period of unusually warm weather in Europe and the North Atlantic that ran from approximately 250 BC to 400 AD. Scientists have determined that Between 230 BC and 40 AD there was a period of exceptional warmth in Iceland that was coincident with the RWP in Europe that ran from 200 BC to 400 AD. Most of the time Paleo-climate Modelling is done with such things as tree rings and ice core data. The problem with tree rings is the rings can only tell average annual temperatures. However, a new technique to reconstruct past temperatures has been developed by scientists at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada and Durham University, England, using the shells of bivalve molluscs. The Scientists used oxygen isotopes in the shells to measure the temperatures of the time. William Patterson, lead author of the study This Icelandic shell data series suggests that the RWP had higher temperatures that those recorded in modern times. I won't bore you with the details. But, the paper can be found online here.
I will take a little historical side trip. The Viking Period took place from the ninth century to the middle of the eleventh. it was during this time that the Norwegian Vikings were raiding and exploring vast areas of Europe, and even parts of the Mediterranean sea. The Vikings were settled between 865 AD – 930 AD in Greenland and Iceland. However, they were forced to abandon the settlements because of the return of extremely cold conditions, The cool period was prolonged. Western settlement in Greenland was abandoned by 1360 AD and by 1450 AD settlements in the east were abandoned as well. This time frame matches well with figure 5.
Figure 5 also shows that the Dark Ages were during another cold period. Around 410 AD the cooler temperatures returned, The era called the Dark Ages, corresponds with the cold period between 400 AD and 600 AD.
After the Dark Ages Cold Period another warm period emerged, this one was called the Medieval Warm Period. during this warm period Europe had a cultural awakening. The awakening led to one of the greatest ages of invention and discovery ever known, The Renaissance, this period ran from around the 14th to about the 17th centuries.
The Medieval Warm Period was followed by another cooler period which is often referred to as the Little Ice Age. It lasted from about the mid to late 1300s into the late 1800s, almost 500 years. During this cold period, the brutally cold winters of the American Revolution were fought. In Europe, it led to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte and his invasion and deadly retreat out of Russia during the brutal winter of 1812, the French Revolution of 1830, and numerous other revolutions across the European Continent. Many feel the Little Ice Age lead to the Industrial Revolution and the beginning of our modern way of life.
One more little historical side trip, a hundred years ago, following the end of the Little Ice Age Cool Period, RMS Titanic hit an iceberg that was released as the next global warming period began to be felt. The sinking of the Titanic caused the deaths of 1,517 people in one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.
The Sun and Global Warming.
I don't like speaking in absolutes, But I will give myself exception this one time. We all know, that without the Sun, the Earth would be a chunk of rocky ice in space. The sun is 750 times bigger than all of the planets in our solar system put together. Another thing we all know is the sun is extremely hot. The sun's surface temperature is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And one more thing we all know, the Sun is what warms the Earth, this is easily demonstrated, go outside on a partly cloudy day, when a cloud comes between you and the Sun, you feel the temperature drop a few degrees. Because of all of this, when the Sun gets hotter, the Earth gets hotter, and visa versa. If you've been following my blog post, most of you know that I'm a big believe in cycles when it comes to weather and climate. The Sun also has cycles. These cycles go from the more familiar 11 year sunspot cycle to ones that last for millions of years.
- Variations in the Earth's orbital eccentricity....this is the shape of the orbit around the sun.
- Changes in obliquity....changes that the Earth's axis makes, the in the angle of the axis vs. the plane of Earth's orbit.
- Precession....This is the change in the direction of the Earth's axis of rotation. Imagine how a top spins, as it slows down the tops axis angle changes to its plain of movement. in other words the top wobbles. Figure 8 shows an illustration of the Milakovitch Cycle.
Could there be other longer term cycles that we know nothing about, because they've never been observed? Absolutely!
The earth has warmed and cooled in cycles for millions of years. The Sun has a huge impact on our climate. Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Dmitriev has said "our entire solar system has been changing. His research has found that every planet in our solar system, the sun and even our moon are experiencing increases in energy field, changes in luminosity and even changes in atmosphere". Other scientists have verified his findings. The Sun causes a vast majority of the global warming we see; some place it as high as 99%. Billions of years ago, the sun was much cooler than it is now....over time the sun will continue to get hotter. I will now discuss a little about ice cores and what they show about solar cycles, polar ice amounts, and global warming.
Fig 10 show generally the same data.
NASA ice core data
NOAA ice core data
Vostok Antarctica ice core data
There is a lot of evidence that we have been cooling off over the past 20 years. Here is temperature data from the Pacific Northwest. it shows that temperatures have cooled off starting in 1992 thru 2012 by -1.0 to -1.5 degrees F. At least for the Pacific Northwest.
One last thing before I conclude, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body first established in 1988 by two United Nations organizations and has since been endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. Its mission is to provide comprehensive scientific assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, and possible options for adapting to these consequences or mitigating the effects. The IPCC is run by politicians, in 2007 the IPCC published a report on their findings on global warming. The report made the future look grim. However, the report ended up having to be retracted, due to inflated statics, and half truths. One of the falsehoods has about solar forcing. The paper halved the maximum likely influence of solar forcing on warming over the past 250 years from 40% to 20%. This was based on a reanalysis of the likely changes in solar forcing since the 17th century. Most of the time when we hear of global warming dangers, it comes from politicians and not scientist. I know the scientific community is a little divided on the subject, There are scientists on both side of the isle. I'm not going to make a political statement, But I think we owe it to ourselves to let science find the answers and not politicians. there is more than enough junk science on both sides. we owe it to ourselves, to find the facts. and let science find the answers to this highly complex problem.
links to papers and articles on the Suns influence on the Earths temperatures and other global warming issues.
Paper on pattern of stange errors in solar and climate data
So if it's not global warming, why was the Winter and so far this spring so warm? As I've been saying on my weather page and this blog We've had a Jet Stream that has stayed north of the lower 48 for the most part. The Jet has been very fast, this has keep the pattern zonal. This along with a positive AO and a positive NAO. These oscillations are normal, atypically long, but not unprecedented. because we had and still have a positive NAO. it's preventing arctic air from making big moves into the US. And as I said in a earlier blog post, the early start for the severe season is because of the warm winter.
Let me close by saying, as I said, the main argument that is currently popular with global warming supporters is : industrialization and human activities are the primary factors that are contributing to increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I have presented information; that shows this can't be the case. As I also said, we are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. But, the amount is so small that it makes no difference in the long run . IMO, Mankind for all his technological might, is a babe in the woods, when compared to the power of Earth's oceans and ecosystem, Sun, and other immense forces both known and unknown. Short of a complete nuclear war, the human race simply doesn't have the power or the understanding to change the climate on a global scale.
I've shown you the facts. it's up to you to decide what to make of them. I hope you enjoyed reading this, maybe even learning a thing or two.