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Earth Science

Study: Man-Made Global Warming First Became Evident In the Mid 20th Century 411

TapeCutter writes: In 1958 the US National Academies of Science (NAS) warned the US government that they had detected a robust Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) signal, they have not changed their mind on that claim for 57 years. Like the modern day Al Gore, Frank Capra publicized the possible effects in a popular documentary (video). Today we have news of a study from Melbourne University claiming the effects of AGW first became evident in the mid 20th century. In other words, the NAS could not have picked up the signal much earlier than they actually did. The fact that the last serious scientific objection to AGW (as a theory) was overcome in the mid 20th century by improving spectrometers in heat seeking missile was a remarkable coincidence, NAS took full advantage of that opportunity.
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Study: Man-Made Global Warming First Became Evident In the Mid 20th Century

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  • ...they have not change their mind...

    ...they have not changed their mind...

    On top of which, Slashdot automatically added a fucking space before the letter "d" when I tried to put the emphasis (bold and italic) on that letter only. You guys can't even write properly, you can't code properly either (the "options" window has been broken for months now), so stop trying to correct what we write on top of that.

    I can't wait to see headlines in major newspapers and websites in a few decades:
    "Youtoobz geealty of

  • The presence of CO2 in the atmosphere causes an effect immediately.
    The only question remaining is how sensitive your tools are.
  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @10:45PM (#50605883)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis's observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands.

    • by kandresen ( 712861 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @11:57PM (#50606079)

      It was not simply washing the hands, but washing the hands with a chlorinated solution. I heard multiple alternative versions over the years - some wanting to use it to state the new theory did not get accepted until the old doctors died out, and so on. Others pointing to the scientific process - which is probably a more correct reason for the delay...: The 1st "theory" was that the chlorinated solution scared the evil spirits so the spirit would not jump from the previous patient to the next.... which was of course rejected flat by the lion share of the established doctors. The theory had to go through a large process to say why washing the hands with a chlorinated solution in a way doctors accepted, and by then some had already completely rejected the source due to the original reference to the supernatural cause...

    • "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd" (Bertrand Russell)

      The real problem for this subject is the way the vast majority of scientists chose to present themselves to society at large. Some of them even believe their own message, though start picking at the seams over dinner and many (often begrudgingly) agree that "yes, it's complicated". The problem is far more evident with the Social "Sciences" but the same issue affects all "Sciences".

      Science

  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @11:28PM (#50606005) Journal

    The fact that the last serious scientific objection to AGW (as a theory) was overcome in the mid 20th century by improving spectrometers in heat seeking missile was a remarkable coincidence, NAS took full advantage of that opportunity.

    Nobody mentioned it to me.

    And I was working from the mid '60s through the early '70s in the "Infrared and Optics" lab that did the guidance systems for the BOMARK and Sidewinder, processed multispectral (including several infrared bands) aircraft and spacecraft data (from the ERTS - later renamed LandSat - and Skylab scanners), and much of the industrial-scale processing as well as the development of the equipment. The missile stuff was classified and before I joined, but the multispectral stuff was not, and was contemporary (as was the synthetic aperture radar in the other lab I worked for at the start of that period).

    I did some of the software that processed that data, some of the running of the mainframes in question, maintained and augmented its OS and libraries on one of them, and, though a lowly undergrad techie at the time, talked with the researchers a lot. Some of them loved to tell me what they were up to and bounce ideas off me for my comments and opinions on them.

    So I find it strange that, if they (or anybody in their field) had found a "strong" or "definitive" signal for AGW, using equipment derived from their work, they wouldn't, at least, have been talking about it a bunch, including with me, while celebrating and/or trying to get another grant out of it (and seeing if I could come up with a way to process the data to detect or falsify the signal).

    As I recall, the dominant paradigm at the time was that the interglacial was ending and we were about to crash into the next ice age (or the next piece of the current one). But while that was discussed on campus it wasn't mentioned at this remote-sensing lab, either.

    • by riverat1 ( 1048260 ) on Saturday September 26, 2015 @11:50PM (#50606063)

      What they discovered in the 1950's was that they couldn't use heat sensors for the missiles that were sensitive in the IR bands that CO2 absorbed. I don't imagine the missiles you worked on used IR sensors in those bands either.

      Of course Arrhenius stated that Earth's temperature was proportional to CO2 levels in the atmosphere in 1896 but scientists didn't really start understanding what that meant until the mid to late 1950's. Gilbert Plass published several papers on the effects of CO2 in the 50's. From there it started building. In 1966 (I think) a presentation on the potential of CO2 to cause warming was made to Lyndon Johnson who mentioned it in an address to Congress. By the 1970's global warming from increasing CO2 was the dominant paradigm.

      • What they discovered in the 1950's was that they couldn't use heat sensors for the missiles that were sensitive in the IR bands that CO2 absorbed. I don't imagine the missiles you worked on used IR sensors in those bands either.

        Oh. THAT's what they're on about? Yeah, we knew about that. Also several bands absorbed by water, bands in the UV where oxygen is dissociated (some of it reforming as ozone), photochemical smog, and a host of other stuff.

        The atmosphere is nearly opaque, with a scattering of transp

        • The meteorology survey course I took back then pretty much blamed water for everything - including the greenhouse effect - and was far more interested in soot and dirt seeding clouds than anything else with carbon in it.

          That's still true isn't it? But water increases the earth surface temperature with about 30 degrees C and the first decent one dimensional model (Manabe) gave an additional 2 degrees when CO2 is doubled. That means we have a significant impact. One can argue that the modern climate models do

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dbIII ( 701233 )

      As I recall, the dominant paradigm at the time was that the interglacial was ending and we were about to crash into the next ice age

      You recall one single "clickbait" style cover of TIME magazine designed to stir people up and start an argument. They justified it with something about "both sides of the story", where apparently on some issues nutcases get equal time to the rest of humanity.

  • Silly old science requires new predictions, which is why we had to invent "science", where a "prediction" about the past becomes new evidence.

    In case you don't get the subtlety, team circlejerk just added a new technique. Old members of the team have been busy editing the "raw" temperature data to make the past cooler and the present warmer. New members of the team are now saying that the trends in this fictional data (which was only recently concocted) could not have been seen until recently.

    Ta da! "Sci

    • go buy yourself a tin foil hat if you don;t already have one, and get a spare in case the first one breaks
  • There are alternatives to fossil fuels that are frowned upon by various groups: nuclear, wind, solar with battery backup, and hydroelectric all work to supply electricity. These need to become the vast majority of what our power plants are based on, with gas generators for somewhat quick ramp up when additional power is needed. Another issue that I wish to make is that no one knows if long term climate warming is all bad. We won't know for sure until it happens and computer models are adjusted on an ongoi
  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Sunday September 27, 2015 @04:33AM (#50606557) Homepage Journal
    ... but for the fact that, each and any and every time AGW is mentioned on Slashdot, we have a majority of comment posters either flat-out denying AGW or engaging into a shouting-and-flaming war. There seems to be no other subject polarizing the /. public as strongly as AGW. Why is that ?

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