Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause? – All Parts

A four-part presentation where Professor Bob Carter uses the scientific method on the popular theory with global warming being linked to CO2 levels. He examnines the hypothesis and it fails the test. Inconvenient Truth author Al Gore would find his presentation contradicted by this presentation? Will kyoto`s greenhouse reduction goals be in vain?

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Part 4:


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How much Carbon dioxide (CO2) is in Earth’s atmosphere today?

CO2 levels in the atmosphere today are NOT at record high levels.

Carbon dioxide is such a small component of Earth’s atmosphere (380 parts per million or 0.038%) that it shows up on the chart below as only a thin line (shown at 2x actual thickness, just so you can see it!). Compared to former geologic times, Earth’s atmosphere is “CO2 impoverished.”

In the last 600 million years of Earth’s history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.


Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time

Late Carboniferous to Early Permian time (315 mya — 270 mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today (Quaternary Period ).

Temperature after C.R. Scotese
CO2 after R.A. Berner, 2001 (GEOCARB III)

There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example:

During the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today.

The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm — about 18 times higher than today.

The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today– 4400 ppm.

According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.

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What is the primary cause of global temperature variations?

Natural variations in global temperatures may occur in roughly 500-year cycles:

The primary cause of variations in global temperature is the cycles of the sun and Earth’s orbit about the sun. In addition to 40-year cycles and 500-year cycles, other temperature cycles include:

  • 21,000 – year cycle: Elliptical orbit of the Earth around the Sun (precession of the equinoxes)
  • 41,000 – year cycle: Cycle of the +/- 1.5 degree wobble in Earth’s orbit
  • 100,000 – year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit (cycle of eccentricity)

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Take the test!

Learning the facts is the best way to understand that global warming is occuring but is not a crisis. It is better to trust scientists than politicans. Do not let fear ruin your day. Learn the Facts.

Take the Global Warming Test to see how knowledgable you are:



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What is the most accurate way to measure global warming?

Since about 1979, each day satellites measure the temperature over about 80% of the globe to an accuracy of about 0.1 degree C. Weather balloons only make measurements at specific locations that are concentrated mostly over land (1).

The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about 5 kilometers up. If global warming is occurring from an increasing greenhouse effect due to CO2 additions by humans the temperature of the middle troposphere should be warming faster than Earth’s surface (2,3). However, the opposite has been happening– which suggests either the surface temperature records are in error or natural factors, such as changes in solar activity, may be responsible for the slight rise in surface temperatures (approximately 0.6¬∞ C, globally) that appears to have occurred over the past century.

Interestingly, in the 5 years leading up to 2007 the temperature of the mid troposphere has actually decreased slightly and surface temperatures have ceased warming— even as CO2 concentrations have continued to increase (4). This should not be happening if CO2 increases to the atmosphere are the primary driver of global warming.

Surface -vs- Satellite Temps
View a close-up image.
View a close-up image.
Image courtesy of NASA
Image courtesy of NOAA (4)

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How much have temps risen in the last 100 years?

Temperatures have risen < 1¬∞ C. Yep, that’s it. This is science fact. Not fiction. And it’s all perfectly normal for our planet.

Temperatures have gone through nearly two complete cycles of warming and cooling over the last 100 years. During the period 1900 to 1940 temperatures were increasing. Then from 1940 to 1975 temperatures were decreasing. Currently, temperatures are increasing back to about where they were in the 1930’s.

Overall, the total average annual temperature increase in the last century is so slight the actual amount is uncertain — maybe 1/3¬∞ C.

surface temps

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What is the primary cause of the Greenhouse Effect?

Over 95 percent of the Greenhouse Effect is the result of atmospheric water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. But because water droplets held in suspension (clouds) make almost as good a reflector as they do a thermal insulator, there is little rise in daytime temperatures due to the Greenhouse Effect.


Any greenhouse warming, if it does occur, is limited to primarily increasing nighttime temperatures, which provides beneficial moderation of nighttime low temperatures, but no increase in daytime high temperatures. Dr. Patrick Michaels, professor of environmental sciences, University of Virginia, has demonstrated this phenomenon very effectively.

Did you know…
The world’s natural wetlands produce more greenhouse gas contributions annually than all human sources combined.


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Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts

Global warming occurs in cycles caused mainly by changes in the sun’s energy output and the sun’s relative position to the Earth.

Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts:

  • Astronomical Causes
  • 11 year and 206 3year cycles: Cycles of solar variability ( sunspot activity 2)
  • 21,000 year cycle: Earth’s combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun ( precession of the equinoxes )
  • 41,000 year cycle: Cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth’s orbit ( tilt)
  • 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth’s elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity)  

  • Atmospheric Causes
  • Heat retention: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor (not droplets), also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases — the "greenhouse effect"
  • Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps
  • Tectonic Causes
  • Landmass distribution: Shifting continents (continental drift) causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. It seems that whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth’s poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
  • Undersea ridge activity: "Sea floor spreading" (associated with continental drift) causing variations in ocean displacement.

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