Graphs to ponder – Temperature and global warming

This blog was written by John D. Wilson, former Deputy Director for Regulatory Policy at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.

Guest Blog | October 26, 2009 | Climate Change

Some polls suggest  the public seems to be cooling a bit to concern about global warming. For some reason, this graph comes to mind, and reminds me how remarkable it is that scientists alerted us to global warming as soon as they did.

I did two college class projects in the late 1980s on global warming. If you cover up the 90s and 2000s in the graph at left, you can see that the increase in global temperature by that date was not that dramatic. Yet at that point, climate scientists had pretty much established the likely trajectory and nature of climate change as it has unfolded over the past two decades.

I worked briefly at the US EPA on climate change in the early 1990s: Even then, it was pretty clear to me that it would be around 2005 when the temperature change would be substantial enough to create a firm public impression that change was underway. Although not everyone remains convinced, in part due to the pervasive effort of the climate deniers, that was roughly when the national debate turned from maybe? to maybe!

Best way to experience global warming? Go for a long swim.
Best way to experience global warming? Go for a long swim.

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the global warming conspiracy theorists continue to spew outright falsehoods and simply ignore the facts. It is disturbing to read such nonsense, but since there doesn’t seem to be anything new here . . .

The other graph I would like to highlight is this shocking illustration of how much of the “global warming” is actually taking place in the ocean, rather than the atmosphere. With growing concern about ocean acidification I cannot help but think that the angry god of global warming may be Neptune, not Ra.

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