Saturday, February 13, 2010


This quote, from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies website:

In total, average global temperatures have increased
by about 0.8°C (1.5°F) since 1880.

You could look it up. That is the number. Mind boggling, eh?

Chart of 2000 years of temperature estimates.

EO prefers to use the 1.5 degree figure that we can actually document. There has been a lot of ferment lately about the famous "hockey stick" chart, which became an iconic symbol of global warming during the late 1990s, but which has been taking some scientific head shots recently. Apparently the "hockey stick" smoothed over or ignored significant evidence of previous temperature spikes and dips. Compare the two charts, above and below.

The iconic "hockey stick." Turns out not to be so accurate.
So we will just use 1880 as a base line, because that is when we started keeping serious records of temperatures throughout the world. From 1880 to the year 4 billion B.C. we are not so sure about how cold or hot it was around here, except for hints like tree rings, which don't tell us much about where the tree was not. Average global temperature doesn't translate well into tree-ring thickness. That's why no one uses tree rings anymore, and everyone's been using thermometers lately.

Before you get angry with our forefathers for screwing up something this important, just know that prior to 1880 people were distracted by their death rates from cholera and bubonic plague, so they failed to organize reliable global temperature measurement societies. It's no excuse, I understand.

Now let's do some math. From 1880 to 2010 is 130 years. For discussion purposes I am rounding that to 125 years, which will slightly overstate the speed of global warming.

If we continue at this rate, by the year 2130 - about 250 years from 1880 - the average global temperatures will have increased by a total of 3.0° F. Just to understand the scope of this disaster, say an average May day in 1880 in Hotville, where I live, was 80 degrees. Right now that day is 81.5 degrees. By the year 2130 it will be 83 degrees.

83 degrees. In May. In Hotville.

By the year 2400, about 500 years from 1880, that comfortable 80 degree day in May will have jumped to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

How we will look in 2400 A.D.
(photo credit)

Now you can see why global warming has kicked up such a fuss.

Parenthetically, as I understand the Book of Revelation, the whole earth winds up even hotter than 86 degrees by the end of time. Which is sobering.

As a result of global warming, our best estimate is there will be a significant net increase in the land available for crops and for human habitation, as much of Siberia and Canada become more "user friendly."

Since cold weather kills many times more people than hot weather, a lot more people will be living longer in the 6 degree hotter weather in the year 2400. So societies will have to adjust to more people, more food and more land.

No way can we adapt in just 500 years. Think of how little our technology has advanced since the year 1500, for instance, and you see my point.

Right now even the most expensive fixes can only avoid a fraction of that 3 degree climb by 2130. So the bottom line is we need to spend tens of trillions of dollars to set up international global warming bureaucracies to make sure that the average global temperature only goes up 2 degrees in 250 years, instead of 3 degrees.

Already we can see the impact of global warming in this winter's monster blizzards on the East Coast. With every year that global warming goes unattended, the world as a whole gets a little bit colder and grayer. Like Cleveland.

Southern dogs trying to figure it all out.
Hotville had about 6 inches of global warming recently.

I know it's all upside down and crazy. That's why it is so darn hard to figure out.

I say we call it "Wobal Glarming," so people don't get confused by the cold weather. With a name like "Wobal Glarming," we know it is a crisis that's here to stay, whether we wind up in a New Ice Age or the Worldwide Saharan Scenario.

And how about an anthem for Wobal Glarming? Maybe Pete Seeger and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

"when will they ever learn?"

Probably too old. Besides, didn't Seeger get all pissy with Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival? I've never understood that.

How about Martha and the Vandellas and "Heat Wave?"

My head's in a haze
It's like a heatwave
burning in my heart

It's hard to hate the Vandellas. On second thought, "Heat Wave" could be confusing, if the blizzards keep coming.

I know the perfect song, by REM:

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it
and I feel fine.

Okay now, EO's done the hard part, making up a new name and finding an appropriate anthem. You go ahead and shovel that Wobal Glarming off your sidewalk. Take some aspirin before you go outside.


  1. Funny post, and well written. I'll have to check the math, but interesting perspective. I'm still a believer that we need to cut our carbon emissions and be more responsible consumers of the limited resources we have. Global warming or not, we consume a lot more than we should. Thanks for the post.

  2. EO thinks we should cut carbon emissions too. He read an interesting book on the economics of the crisis mentality called "Cool It," in which the author, who accepts the fact of global warming, makes the point that the current thinking on how to cure the problem is quite mistaken. A calm, thoughtful book that deserves more attention.

  3. I have to say I am disappointed by your use of the "Global warming?? Look outside, its SNOWING!" argument. Really, EO.

  4. EO, My husband says "Look outside it's snowing" ALL the time. ;-) I suspect his argument against Global Warming is a little deeper than that, too. You made me smile.

  5. I believe we all need to get outside every morning and thank God for this wonderful world He has given us. I heart sunshine. Sing a song, and look at the sky. I know, I am really profound huh?

  6. EO thinks Mrs. Bossy sounds like a wonderful person and wonders if she would like to have Graham Crackers and Cream Cheese some time.