Monday 24th of June 2024

What is global warming?


So. What is global warming?


Good question. Exclusive by Gus Leonisky.


Global warming is quite simple really. 


But before going into it, we need to investigate “climate change”. Scientists who question global warming (CAGW/AGW) will announce that “climate changes all the time” and they are correct. Climate changes. ( ). No dispute. For the last 500,000 years climate has oscillated between ice ages and warmer periods. The Vostok record is one of the most compelling evidence of such natural change. Vostok is a Russian scientific station where scientists collect ice core sample from drilling the ice near the south pole. The ice cores give a precise and untainted record of past climates on the planet to at least 450,000 years ago. (


I use this record because it is also used by denialists to prove that there is no global warming at present.


temperature Vostoktemperature Vostok


The record of past temperatures tells us that there has been four (4) major periods of glaciation and we are in the fifth (5th) warmer period since about 500,000 years ago. The warm period we are experiencing presently is well document to have started at the end of the last ice age. The “defrost” happened about 14,000 to 10,000 years ago. Temperature rose about 8 degrees Celsius if we look at this chart. Sea level rose by around 100 metres if we look at the geological records. This is well documented. But temperature increases and decreases are not evenly distributed across the climatic zones from polar to equatorial regions. We know that. How can scientists say the temperature was such and such by looking at ice cores?


The processes of analysis are complex but are very accurate and verified. No scientists who question CAGW/AGW are disputing these records. 


Other records go further back to 2 or 4 million years and the story is basically the same. ( ) Presently, several Antarctic expeditions are racing to get the “one million year old ice”. Here on the Vostok record, we can see on the graph above that some variations of temperature are up to 10 degrees Celsius between cold and warm periods. So what is creating these “climate change”?


The Vostok record shows us that CO2 variations are very much in step with these temperature variations:


CO2 VostokCO2 Vostok


How can scientists say the amount of CO2 was such and such by looking at ice cores? The processes of analysis are complex but are very accurate. No scientists who question CAGW/AGW are disputing these records. 


And yes there are anomalies, but the general trends are intuitively evident. Here on this record, also matched by other records, we can see that the difference is 120 ppm, between 300 parts per millions of CO2 for warm periods and around 180 parts per millions for cooler periods. The slight out-of-phase between these two graphs is often used by denialists to prove that temperature increase is generating the increase of CO2. 

Fair enough but this is not the whole story and this can be scientifically successfully contested. What is shifting the climate from hot to cold and hot again, under these natural conditions?


One of the main influence is called the Milankovitch Cycles. ( A Milankovitch cycle is a cyclical movement related to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. There are three of them: eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession.


Milankovitch cycles ascribe the collective effects of changes in the Earth’s movements on its climate over thousands of years. According to the Vostok record and analysis of the Milankovitch cycles, they are reasonably in step in regard to cool and warm periods. Presently, we are going towards a cooling period according to the Milankovitch cycles say with the maximum cool in about 140,000 years. This is all we need to know at the moment.


Another factor which influence climate is water vapour in the atmosphere. It has been recognised that despite its chaotic behaviour in the atmosphere, the changes in the amount of water in the atmosphere is far less noticeable between cool and warm periods, than the changes in CO2 amount. The amount of water is 10 times greater than that of carbon dioxide and the variations between cool and warm periods are less than five per cent water vapour. The variation of CO2 is about 40 per cent. Of course less water vapour in the atmosphere would lead to some “cooling”. Spectroscopy deems that water vapour is a warming gas. 


Another factor which influences the variations and the not quite matching lines between temperature and CO2 is particles. This is the Vostok record of dust particles.


particles Vostokparticles Vostok


Particles are usually associated with cooling. The larger amount of particles appear during the cooler periods. Where do particles come from? They come from various origins from volcanoes to forest fires. Forest fires can have conflicting influences. 


For example, there was a massive volcanic eruption in 1258 in Lombok which “killed off” summer in Europe. It rained non-stop and the weather was so cold that crops never matured and rotted. This of course was seen by religious people as god’s punishment for sins. Some monks indulged in self-flagellation, while priests sold the usual “repent”, etc...


At this point we need to pay a visit to the professionals:


Climatologists can postulate that:

Average temperatures on the surface of the Earth are presently maintained via the gaseous mix

Water vapour represents about 75 per cent of this influence

CO2 induces about 20 per cent 

Other gases induce the rest of the average temperature, including methane and nitric oxides.

Oxygen is viewed as a “cooling gas”


Despite the very small quantities of CO2, should there be none in the atmosphere, the temperature would plummet around 35 degrees Celsius in 50 years. 


( (



This prognosis has come after many confirmed experiments, precise studies in spectrum analysis and confirmed comparisons of the influence of the gaseous mix in the atmosphere. Let’s say it’s quite complicated but accurate. No scientific denialist can seriously dispute these facts. 


Other considerations are albedo and forcing. At this point in time we will considered them average.


John Tyndall, an Irish scientist proved in 1859 that CO2 was a “warming gas”. ( By 1897, Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist had painstakingly calculated that for an ice age to occur, half of the CO2 in the atmosphere had to go. ( Looking at his calculations done about 100 years before the Vostok record was established, shows that Arrhenius was not far off the mark. His calculations also indicated a 6 degree temperature variation.


We have to consider that the atmosphere is not homogenous though steady -- and is VERY VERY THIN.


Say for example that Manhattan Island is 21.6 kms long (13.4 miles), the useful atmospheric region terminates at around 10 kms of altitude. By then it is about 40 per cent less dense than on the surface. Go another 10 km upwards and the atmosphere is less than 20 per cent dense than it is at ground level. Go up to 100 kms and there is no real atmosphere at all -- barely a few loose molecules, enough of them though to burn spacecrafts on re-entry by friction at high speed. Above this, there is something we call the thermosphere, a place where rare atoms are between 400 and 4,000 degrees Celsius. It’s the beginning of the void in which a lot of our satellites travel at between 300 and 450 kms altitude.


atmosphere carbon cycleatmosphere carbon cycle


Most of the climate change processes take place in this first 10-12 km layer, which for all intent and purposes is only half the length of Manhattan Island in height and less than half its surface density at 10,000 metres.


The climate changes also include the status of the bio-mass and of the oceans. The bio-mass represents breathing of animals and photosynthesis from plants. Plants absorb CO2 and release excess oxygen. Here the processes are complex as to discover what amount of CO2 the plants absorb versus release of oxygen during cooler/warmer period. The same with the oceans that absorb more CO2 in different conditions. Science has done the analysis to all this. No scientists who question CAGW/AGW can credibly challenge these findings.


This was a short introduction to climatology in regard to the base temperature of the atmosphere and of the surface of the planet in general. This thin atmosphere acts like a protective blanket against cosmic rays and other radiation from the sun. Without the atmosphere, there would not be any oxygen to breathe -- and the temperature could oscillate between more than 100 degrees Celsius during the day to nearly minus 100 degrees during the night. The planet would be uninhabitable. 




The gaseous mix of the atmosphere has thus maintained an average surface temperature between 7 and 15 degrees Celsius over the last 500,000 years, though there has been much warmer and cooler period in the past four billions years of earth history. 


With the present process, the oceans also provide a strong inertia momentum that prevents excessive fluctuations of temperatures between day and night. The day to day status of the atmosphere is location dependent (polar or equatorial, including continental position/oceanic position), time dependent (night or day), altitude dependent (sea level or mountain) and disturbances dependent (cold fronts, warm fronts, high pressure, low pressure, cyclones, clouds, tornadoes, snow, rain, hail). 


The definite zoning from Polar regions to Equatorial region is something we all learn at primary school, including the tilt of the axis of this planet which gives us the seasonal changes.


So far few scientists who are denialists could dispute any of this. They would not be taken seriously.  See:


At this point, Climatology steps on the toes of another specific area: Meteorology. One does not have to be a climatologist to be a meteorologist and this can lead to some confusion and some dissenting over the influences of various factors


Meteorology is the study of the immediate behaviour of the atmosphere -- this complex gaseous layer made of -- as dry air -- by volume 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases in diminishing quantity such as methane and nitric oxides. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapour, on average around 1% at sea level, and 0.4% over the entire atmosphere


The variability of water vapour gives us one of the main influencing factors of meteorology: clear skies, clouds, rain, hail, snow. Atmospheric pressure and dew point are two others elements of measurement. Dew point is dependent on temperature, pressure and humidity.


To say the least, meteorologists have a hell of a time trying to predict variations in this unstable but BALANCING mix, in regard to seasonal changes, local conditions and various layers of the atmosphere within the 10 kilometres band, as the water vapour varies from ice (hail, high altitude clouds) to water droplets (rain, clouds) and to clear vapour (humidity). Like climatologists, meteorologists have super-computers at their disposal and yet meteorologists cannot predict the weather precisely within a few days and often have to update every hour. 


Meteorologists have had to define a few new parameters that will give them a better power of prediction, parameters such as those used by NOAA for tornado percentage prediction. Even so, the science of meteorology could be the most imprecise science of them all. The work of Lorenz is well known in this area of Chaos. And Lorenz did not account for climate zoning nor seasonal changes. (


At this point we also need to mention winds and jet streams. Both are air movements dependent of local and global conditions. These air movements are the convection currents of the atmosphere at various levels of the atmosphere.


The jet streams are more specific and hurl usually west to east around the globe in four places which are the top altitude junctions of the climatic zones, say between polar and temperate region and between temperate and tropical regions. The jet streams are used by planes to fly faster west to east while they avoid the jet streams when flying in the opposite direction. It is often noted that it nearly takes one hour extra of flying time between Sydney and Perth, Australia, than to fly from Perth to Sydney, Australia.


The equatorial region is one of generally low pressure (air “rising”) with high level of rain and low winds. This is the Doldrums in the Atlantic. The poles are high pressure systems and despite being covered in ice, they are dry. Antarctica is the “driest” continent on earth, ( in regard to precipitation of rain, snow and ice. Other weather phenomenon like the cold “polar vortex” in winter in the US can be explained as the seasonal displacement of the weather zoning, while the North Pole enjoys temperature above 20 degrees than average.(


This has been quantified and very few scientists could dispute this observation which has recently shown that the polar temperature at one stage was nearly 30 degrees above average.


Though everything is connected, the jet streams are relatively independent of eddies -- such as lows and high pressure systems and waves such as fronts and trough, which influence our weather patterns. 


Weather has patterns.( These patterns greatly help meteorologists predict the weather by statistical collection of the status of the atmosphere from past events to present observations. These patterns are still not enough to make accurate weather predictions, especially at local level. 


Satellite imaging has also greatly improved the process of weather prediction. Pictures of cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes (different name for the same phenomenon in different regions) are dramatic. Meteorologists use the visible spectrum as well as the infrared spectrum to study the behaviour of atmospheric disturbances. For example, this gives an extra parameter to gauge the progress and trajectory of cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes, which run, counter to prevailing winds, from east to west usually but not exclusively. Most prediction of the path of a cyclone, typhoon or hurricane gives a possibility of 5 degrees angle on either side of the main plot, due to unseen or uncounted factors and statistical error. 


Here we could study hurricane Sandy succinctly. As an amateur meteorologist since the 1950s, I could see on satellite imaging that, as the depression Sandy had become, it was hugging the coast of the US. Previous statistical records showed that Sandy would soon peel off the coast and disappear through the Atlantic, eventually disturbing the weather in the UK. I did not subscribe to this idea. ((


My different prediction was influenced by another disturbance: a trough over middle north of the US which was moving east: I thought that the trough was a low pressure wave that would suck in Sandy and keep it hugging the coast for longer and create some major destruction. This was my estimate way before meteorologists started to see that something was afoot. The low pressure trough and Sandy combined to create the devastation we all know. That two weather phenomena combine is not unusual but not frequent. In Sydney, Australia, we recently had a very very unusual storm that came from the “fair-weather” north-east. Here again it was the combination of a deep trough from the west moving east mixing with a strong nor’easter, creating a record devastating 150 km/h winds from the north east.


I published about it and about sandy. 


Recently, in my article “of weather and changing climate...” I started with:




As New South Wales became the hottest place on the planet, Saturday/Sunday 11/12 February, a few questions arise from the ashes of the burnt land and houses:


Is god using natural disaster to punish sinners?

         YES, if you believe in god. 


This was in jest of course... Bushfires in 47+ degrees Celsius heat was no laughing matter. Houses got destroyed. Many animals died. No person died. In this article I wrote about a downburst:


Why was there an unpredicted devastating rain storm on Tuesday 7 February in Sydney?

The BoM [Bureau of meteorology] “predicted” a storm about 16 minutes after the storm started. The main event of the storm lasted 10 minutes and dropped about 50 mm of rain. It was pouring buckets! So how come the BoM did not see the storm coming?

There are various cloudbursts that lead to rain, hail and [sometimes] tornadoes. Some of these, despite highly sophisticated measuring devices, including radars, cannot be predicted. [the chance of] Tornadoes can often be predicted with sophisticated measurements, but not the downburst.

A strong cold wind from an upper level of the atmosphere can penetrate inside a large cloud (usually a cumulonimbus) from the side. Due to the differential of temperature between the cold wind and the warmer temperature inside the cloud, this strong cold wind can accelerate within the cloud in a downward motion, sometimes taking with it water droplets and ice crystals. It suddenly burst below the cloud at speed. In April, 2015, such burst brought down hail at the speed of bullets. This hail is smaller (olive sized) than the big golf ball/orange-sized which fall by gravity alone. [Sydney lost more than 20,000 roofs in April 1996 with hailstones as big as oranges].

The downburst can have speed up to 270 km/h downwards (75 m/s) while the updraft inside the cloud can be at 40 m/s. The downburst can make a lot of damage in the air (aircraft fatalities) and with a radiating strong flow once it hits the ground. As the downburt cloud passes, the wind direction will twirl according to the shift of the centre in the radiating ground wind. The debris will always fly away from the centre of the downburst while the debris usually fly towards the centre in a tornado. Imagine the different ends of a vacuum cleaner or a leaf-blower. One end sucks (tornado, reduced pressure), ( the other side blows (downburst, added pressure) ( ( Downburst can often be mistaken for tornadoes, but the damage although as extensive, has a different pattern and a larger footprint on the ground. Microbursts are very localized downbursts and are also very hard to predict.




At this stage we need to mention that many meteorologists DO NOT subscribe to the global warming theory. There is too much imprecision and imponderables in their own work as to accept that the theory of global warming could be so precise. The figure is that only 29 per cent of AMS (American Meteorologist Society) members agree to the tight wording of the “scientific consensus” on global warming. Many dismiss global warming entirely. Meteorologists do not specifically exclude the “weatherman” or “weathergirl” who are often only experts in delivering the weather on TV every night, while looking knowledgeable. The weather they report is usually supplied by the BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) in Australia and similar outfits around the world. Some of these “weatherpreson” will do their own research on the “oscillation index” or such, like La Nina/el Nino effect, but it is a rare state of affairs.


Here we have established that weather prediction is a very imprecise science. 


So what is global warming?


We have already accepted that climatologists say:

Average temperatures on the surface of the Earth are maintained via the gaseous mix

Water vapour represents about 75 per cent of this influence

CO2 induces about 20 per cent 

Other gases induce the rest of the average temperature, including methane and nitric oxides.

Oxygen is viewed as a “cooling gas”


Despite the very small quantities of CO2, should there be none in the atmosphere, the temperature would plummet around 35 degrees Celsius in 50 year. 


With the Vostok record we have established that the natural maximum variations are between 180 ppm of CO2 for ice ages and 300 ppm of CO2 for warmer period. These natural variations are mostly induced by the Milankovitch cycles


Climatologists will also add that:


EXTRA CO2 AND EXTRA OTHER warming GASES in the atmosphere will induce a warming above the “normal” natural settings. Even Arrhenius predicted this.




Few scientists can dispute this statement. 


But scientists who question global warming try hard to discredit this statement. The other main point is to dispute by how much this extra CO2 will influence warming. So, why dispute this very intuitive and scientifically verifiable statement?




What is happening? 


It’s complicated, yet simple...


Since the 1940s it has been noticed that the surface of the earth is warming, contrarily to what we should expect under the spell of the Milankovitch cycles. 


More precise measurements have indicated a warming trend which so far has been high, such as the year 2015 and 2016. 


From 1998, for a few years there was a plateau in the rise of temperature. In fact, the temperature were rising (0.01) but not as much as predicted by models (usually 0.03 degrees Celsius increase per annum). This was used by scientists who question global warming to confirm that the models were faulty and could not be trusted. We all know of climategate:


-- Some researchers had some doubt when some incoming data did not fit expectations. This is not new in sciences. No data is perfect and no expectation is correct even when all data is in hand and calibrated. For some scientists who question global warming, calibration is a sore point. They claim the data can be tempered with. It is not. This is why there is something called statistics and “statistical error”. All sciences deal with this everyday. Things work nonetheless. And the degree of precision is actually astonishing. 


For example the rise predicted for 2015 would have been modelled at 0.03 degree Celsius (or 0.3 degrees per decade or 3 degrees per one hundred years) but it was actually measured globally at 0.75 degrees Celsius above the “new” average calculated with the years 1961 to 1991. Wow! 


The scientists who question global warming could only suspect that the recording of temperature worldwide had been tempered with. Climatologists can do nothing about this misinformation. The record of temperature is measured by six different organisations worldwide, including a skeptical scientific (scientists questioning CAGW/AGW) outfit that could not contradict this record. Only the misinformed and those who have vested interests in denying this has happened would argue. One can count 100 per cent of serious climatologists agreeing with this evidence of temperature rising.


Then 2016, was declared the warmest year yet, beating the 2015 record with a temperature of 0.94 degree Celsius above the 1961-1990 average. 2017 started ominously in Australia with New South Wales (already mentioned) being warmer by 2.8 degrees Celsius above average for the three months of summer. Wow! I was there. No denialist can dispute that Sydney was hot and sticky, and “hotter than usual” 3 months!...


So what is really happening?


Since the industrial revolution, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere had risen, from around 280 PPM in 1830, to 388 PPM in 2008. Such increase is not a full doubling as per Arrhenius calculations, but as well as CO2 being a warming gas, compounding effects can increase the influence that such small amount of CO2 has on the warming of the atmosphere. 


In 2017, the CO2 concentration is above 400 PPM and rising -- and most likely to induce a rise of global temperature of at least 3 degrees Celsius by 2050, and more by 2100, considering the high jump in recent temperature compared to the computer models. Here we must look again at the Vostok graph. 


The variations of CO2 and temperature are not exactly in lock-step and the graphs look more like shark teeth than hockey sticks. There is stagger on the line of changes. These changes are not purely “linear”. This is not due to “inaccuracy in measurement”, but in the natural process in which there are feedback mechanisms, such as melting of ice which sends currents of cold though the water and the atmosphere and changes in albedo -- plus the forcing of heat into the void above. 


If we take that the influence of the increase of CO2 not to be bound in proportion but in step with the different amount of CO2, the warming by 2100 could go as high as 9 degrees Celsius. One of the major problem for scientists is the delay between cause and effect in such a large entity as the atmosphere and the surface of the planet, including the oceans that are slowing down the warming.


Here science can only speculate on the “real” effects of warming, but science can say with confidence that more CO2 will induce a noticeable warming. Most of the scientific denial is designed to sow doubt about this simple process. Two major question arise:


How come a small amount of CO2 increase (120 PPM since 1832) can induce global warming?

Where is the extra CO2 coming from?


First, the sun provides much of the entire electromagnetic spectrum from the non-visible high frequency light to the longest waves of photon/electric behaviour. The sun activity can vary in strength of emissions but overall, these variations are small and are negligible in comparison to the gaseous mix reactivity to the spectrum. This reactivity is what provides the steady heat setting in the atmosphere and on the surface of the planet.


Sciences uses the term wavenumbers rather than bandwidth because molecules resonate to very specific narrow bands of the spectrum. It’s a bit like crystal. The note has to be the right one and the glass will vibrate until the note is intense enough to shatter it. And it will shatter. This means that the integrity of the crystal cannot be maintained passed a certain point of vibration.


We should all know of the influence of microwaves on water molecules. We use the process in our modern kitchens. A very specific wavelength of microwave is used to “excite” (rotate) water molecules that thus warm up — to the point that the water boils. Simple. Microwaves have a lower frequency than infrareds, There is more “energy” in infrareds than in microwaves. The higher the frequency, the more energy is transmitted.


Infrared spectrum makes some molecules vibrate (rather than rotate). At this stage, precise wavenumbers of the spectrum will “agitate” some molecules specifically, carbon dioxide included. Under these infrared wavenumbers, CO2 can “vibrate” or “rotate” or “stretch”. For CO2 the major distortion is an asymmetric stretch at v = 2349 cm -1 (4.26 um) while it will have a double degenerated bend at v = 667 cm-1 (15.00 um). 


Some other research papers have slight variations (±3) on these numbers, possibly due to the mean calculation either side of the wavenumber spectrum trough. The only observable changes in molecules involve a change in the dipole moment of the molecule. Spectroscopy is very clear on this aspect or CO2 reactivity to infrared. CO2 vibrations are warming it up more than the ambient temperature, itself rising the ambient temperature. CO2 is a “warming gas”. Simple. Is there enough in the atmosphere to lead to global warming? Yes. The Vostok record is clear on this: more CO2 -- higher temperature.


Spectroscopy is also very clear about water vapour, the main atmospheric warming ingredient. Here the problem become more complex as water absorbs DIFFERENT WAVENUMBERS of infrared as a gas (vapour), as a liquid and as ice, or even as “heavy water” (1 in 3200 molecule of water is “heavy water”, oxygen bonding with Deuterium – an isotope of hydrogen with one neutron added (Tritium is a hydrogen atom with two neutrons. Tritium water is radioactive). Water molecules can be found as H2O, D2O, HOD, DOT, TOT, HOT, each with their own reactivity to the infrared spectrum. We will only consider H2O.


Try any other wave number in the infrared range and NOTHING will happen. For example CO2 won’t “vibrate” though it will warm up/cool down to the ambient heat settings.


We know that 120 PPM difference in CO2 atmospheric concentration can induce an 8 to 10 degrees Celsius of atmospheric natural change. The main point here might be to split de difference.


Should the difference or should the proportion be responsible for the warming? 


The proportion, 400 PPM at present being 120 PPM above 1832 level of CO2, would give a proportional increase of 25 per cent. Is this proportion in relation to the lowest value of ice age or average value between ice age/warm period -- or the high value of warm periods? This is where we need to foray into more complex equations, which obviously are going to spit the scientific community. This is why most of the models of global warming are very conservative in their approach, while most scientists are panicking at the “real” prospects unleashed by this EXTRA CO2. Either way there is going to be warming. In this case we should expect that AT BEST a rise of 2.5 degrees Celsius will happen when the already present EXTRA CO2 effect is in full swing by 2100 or before. At worse, just accounting for CO2, the increase of temperature would be more than 4 degrees Celsius. 


Or is the Extra amount of 100 ppm of CO2 leading to a full increase of 8 to 10 degrees Celsius? This is being investigated as we need to know the prospective damage. 


Other factors can add EXTRA warming faster than we think.


As well as diminishing the total photosynthesis equation, deforestation by burning releases a lot of CO2 and other gases such as the Nitric Oxides family. It will take a lot of forest growth to recoup the CO2 released in a bushfire. Methane is about 28 times more warming than CO2. Nitric Oxides are nearly 300 times more warming than CO2. Mitigating factors such as plumes of particles and “smoke” can lessen some influence of these gases.


Nitrogen N2 is quite inert in regard to global warming and, as the rain drives it into the soil, it helps in the growth of plants. Nonetheless, using nitrates as EXTRA nitrogen to “fertilise the soil” in cultivation contributes quite a large amount of “global warming gases” through bacteria consumption in the soil. The bacteria release N2O, (nitric oxide -- laughing gas) and other nitric oxides (NOx). To mitigate this problem, some modern farmers micro-manage the amount of fertiliser spread on specific areas of their land by using satellite imaging in the infrared spectrum that tells them where there is “too much or not enough” fertiliser for the style of crop they grow.


Despite being strong warming gases, NOx gases in the atmosphere help in the creation of OH radicals that reduce the lifetime of gases such as methane. 


With more than 100 PPM EXTRA CO2 (above 300 PPM maximum in natural conditions) in anthropogenic conditions  (i.e. human burning fossil fuels) EXTRA warming is induced. This leads to other MAJOR complex changes: feedback mechanisms and melting of ice and permafrosts. Present warming of permafrost helps the release of millions of tons of methane and NOx gases. Permafrosts no more. 


As the ice melts in polar regions and in glaciers, ( this process sends cold waves of atmospheric disturbances as well as cold streams of water, giving a false sense of cooling in some other regions. This is the ice in the whisky syndrome. The whisky cools but this process masks the fact that the sum of temperature of the ice/whisky combo is rising to room temperature. This is one of the feedback mechanisms in global warming the influence of which is hard to fully assess.


The melting of the ice leads to a reduction of white surface at the north pole. This is changing the albedo in favour of warming. Albedo is the measure of the ability of a surface to reflect energy back and stay cool, rather that absorb it and warm up. Albedo in visible light ranges from up to 0.9 for fresh snow to about 0.04 for charcoal, one of the darkest substances. The ocean surface has a low albedo, as do most forests.


Where is the EXTRA CO2 coming from?


This excess of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to natural processes (plants and oceans) not being able to recycle all the CO2 that WE RELEASE in the atmosphere. Industrialisation has made life a lot easier for humans, yet it has released an enormous amount of warming gases from CO2, NOx to methane. Burning fossil fuels is the main driver of this CO2 excess now about 25 per cent in proportion of the natural maximum. What are fossil fuels? Fossil fuels are remnants of animal (hydrocarbons) and plant (coal) life buried long ago by geological and dramatic climatic upheavals. We are burning the ancestors... ( ). When more carbon was part of the biosphere, there were periods with a noticeable increase in warming to the point that there was no polar ice and the sea level was about 75 metres above present  ( NOTE this article proposes that sea levels were about 200 metres above present sea levels. Serious paleo-scientific books (no link available) place this level at 75 metres above present. I chose the lower figure because I know it is proposed by serious scientists. As we add CO2 (carbon to the “natural” carbon equation of the last few million years), are we about to unleash such conditions that prevailed say around 120 million years ago? (see links above)


More could be also said here about continental position which was different then than it is now. The Southern ocean is presently acting like a containment unit and reduces the melt of Antarctica as compared with that of the north pole


Can we survive? Can we stop this? 


I am not disturbed by the variety of possible studied outcomes. That scientists agree or disagree at this level of future damage is not a problem. What is a problem is the denial of the process by people who have not studied global warming in detail, especially politicians, and claim “global warming is crap”.  GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL.


Science can only predict with a certain bracketed accuracy, some of the range of possibility from the inevitable rise in sea level, the acidification of the oceans as they absorb more CO2 with the rise of temperature that eventually will kill plants and animals in some regions. ( Though the polar region are warming faster, the most exposed regions to damages are the temperate regions. This is where we will see the most of “burning” damage, though some tropical lowlands will get flooded and displace millions of people .


In conclusion, GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL. It is presently INDUCED BY EXTRA CO2 pumped by many of our human activities, from burning fossil fuels to our destruction of forests. We are responsible for the damage. Unfortunately, we have no insurance cover. And as the surface of the planet warms up because of CO2, other processes take place that are adding to the warming. 


The science of climatology in regard to global warming is correct. We are ignoring it at our peril. The increase of temperature is very fast in geological terms and it won’t stop for a few thousands years when there could be a massive shake-up of the carbon equation through the death of plants and animals that will drive CO2 increase, counterbalanced by… nothing… nothing but the great void above… And this could come earlier than we think or can even calculate.


So why is there denialism in the air?


This is a simple question to answer. ( ). Industrialisation through the burning of fossil fuels underpins 90 per cent of the human modern economy. Changing our economic ways would demand a 180 degree turn around in our perceptions of what we want for the future. Politics and economy are not sciences, never have been, never will be. These human activities rely on invention of values rather than real values of effects on the dynamic of the planet. ( The science of global warming demands a new economic system. This is upsetting the apple cart, such as the car/petrol industry. Even the oil industry, aware for a long while of the problems that global warming can do, has employed scientists and spruikers to sow doubt in the greater population.


The scientists hired in these positions are often non-climatic scientists, such as geologists, meteorologists and even dentists with the gift of the gab. Few are climatologists and those who are, may I say, have lost integrity for cash.


Many people from economists to religious people will also reject the science of global warming because it impacts on present beliefs and comforts. It does not have to, as we can restructure economics to suit more sustainable human activities including population management. At this stage, profits are still ruling the roost. “Greed is good” is the saying, but it’s not good if greed destroys the planet which it does.


We can restructure, but this demands enormous cooperation from all nations, and few are prepared to walk the way. Mistakes have been, are, and will be made. Politics will be played. Claims will be spruiked such as “clean coal”. Clean coal can be clean in terms of sulphur but not in terms of CO2. This is the new con-trick.


Meanwhile as we argue with each others, the surface of the earth is warming...


There is hope that the next stable level of the atmosphere/oceans/biosphere can settle around 6 degrees Celsius above present, for a while. But as we release more CO2, the next plateau after this is about 9 degrees Celsius above present temperature, with a possibility of reaching 12 degrees Celsius when the forcing — the loss of heat into the void — will negate any average increase of temperature.


During this kind of “extreme” stretch, which has happened, as previously as mentioned, on this planet about 120 million years ago, there will be no polar ice and sea will be 75 metres above present level, unless the planet suffers an EXTRA massive trauma, including a large increase in the amount of clear water vapour, becoming like hot transparent steam at surface level. Or a large meteorite impact. Dinosaurs, here come the humans...


Imagine planet Venus with an atmosphere of 96 % CO2 has basic temperature above 440 degrees Celsius. This is mostly due to CO2 reactivity to the infrared spectrum. 


Earth has been a lucky planet... ( But global warming is accelerating above and beyond natural settings. Unless we take drastic actions and stop our activities that release EXTRA CO2, this could herald extinction of many species forever and even the near death of planet earth. Life on earth is resilient and has recovered from such traumatic events before, but the effects were not pretty: up to 95 per cent of life on earth vanished then


We have to consider short term and long term damage and survey the risks of letting global warming run riot.


We know we will get weather variations such as stronger storms and flash flooding, More heat, more drought, more unpredictable deluges. Sea level rising. And these are only the minor problems. A team of climatologists have modelled a serious computer program that shows that before 2050, the weather zoning could disappear and weather chaos would follow. Already the predicted 0.45 metre rise of sea level by 2100 is now reset at more than one metre. Can we let this happen? 


A few people who question global warming (CAGW/AGW) say that by 2020, the rise of temperature will stop. Who knows. I don’t think they are correct. All the scientific observations so far are going in the opposite direction. Warming could accelerate beyond our computer models.


We have already taken a few mitigating steps like the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, but it’s often three steps forward with the progressives and two steps backwards with the political right. With Donald Trump, we’re doing four or five steps backwards in a giant leap. It’s ugly. We have little chance of limiting this damage under such conditions. We can be vocal and try to mitigate the damage from the next level.


Should we wish to help the planet survive better, the first thing we need to do is stop pumping ANY CO2 into the atmosphere, then we need to scrub as much as possible of the excess already added, to a manageable level say 320 PPM of CO2.


And we will need to find a way to stop the acidification of the oceans without creating more problems… (


To say we’re in deep shit without a paddle would be an overstatement. 

We can paddle but we’ve got to do it fast... 


But the doubters, like Saint Thomas, are in the way. Only the future can tell us... and the present is already full of tell-tales.



Gus Leonisky


Your local CO2 expert…



Who is Gus Leonisky? Gus Leonisky is a nom-de-plume used by an old bloke on the Australian scrap heap who sometimes paints pictures and does cartoons -- more than 4,800 of them already published on Gus did his first cartoons in 1951. Born in Europe, Gus has an extensive knowledge of political bullshit, recent and throughout history, of spying agencies and of various scientific information. Versed in climatology, Gus is also proficient in the nuclear industry and quantum mechanics. Gus also writes on other subjects including technology, social behaviour and the future.


the stress on nature...

polar bearpolar bear

noxious gases from the white house...

In late 2006, President George W. Bush’s Environmental Protection Agency argued before the Supreme Court that it did not want to regulate greenhouse gases, and that no one could make it do so. It certainly had no wish to accede to the desires of Massachusetts, which, with eleven other states, had sued the E.P.A. for failing to establish guidelines on emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons. The states pointed to the agency’s charter, under the Clean Air Act, which instructs it to regulate chemicals released into the air “which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.” They asked why the E.P.A., which had refused even to consider whether greenhouse gases fell into that category, thought that it could ignore the law.


The Court, in a landmark 5–4 decision, written by Justice John Paul Stevens and issued ten years ago this week, agreed with the states. As a result of that ruling, the E.P.A. began the formal process of looking at the science documenting the risks posed by greenhouse gases, and recognized that those emissions had contributed to a public-safety crisis affecting not just the nation but the planet. The E.P.A.’s resulting “endangerment finding,” as it is known, was issued in 2009, in time for Barack Obama’s Presidency. It became the immediate object of conservative scorn and of furious efforts in Congress and the courts to invalidate it, but it held up, and formed the basis for new standards on auto emissions and for Obama’s Clean Power Plan, issued in 2015. More than that, the finding was an assertion of the principle that politicians cannot entirely ignore either science or the rule of law.

We now have, in Donald J. Trump, a President who shows disdain for both. Trump’s lack of interest in climate change as anything other than fodder for conspiracy theories involving Chinese hoaxers reached its fullest expression last week, in a “Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” The order asks every agency of the federal government to review its rules and to purge them of measures that inconvenience the fossil-fuel and nuclear-power industries. In particular, it directs the E.P.A. to rewrite the Clean Power Plan, which had called for, among other things, the replacement of old and dirty coal-burning plants. The plan would, it was projected, result in eight hundred and seventy million fewer tons of carbon pollution released into the atmosphere, as many as thirty-six hundred fewer premature deaths in the United States between now and 2030, and ninety thousand fewer asthma attacks in children.

President Trump said that his order puts “an end to the war on coal.” In reality, it is a declaration of war on the basic knowledge of the harm that burning coal, and other fossil fuels, can do. Indeed, it tells the government to ignore information. The Obama Administration assembled a working group to determine the “social cost” of each ton of greenhouse-gas emissions. Trump’s executive order disbands that group and tosses out its findings. Scott Pruitt, the new E.P.A. administrator—who, as attorney general of Oklahoma, had joined a lawsuit attempting to undo the endangerment finding—announced that the agency was no longer interested in even collecting data on the quantities of methane that oil and gas companies release.

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burning the planet with money from "nice puppies"...


Sheldon Whitehouse is a politician with a great name, a bad haircut, and a pissed-off attitude. The second-term Democratic junior senator from Rhode Island has built his career around two seemingly unrelated issues—climate change and money in politics—and he’s just written a book to demonstrate how intimately connected they turn out to be.

Whitehouse, who is sixty-one years old, has an aristocratic bearing and a background that belies his everyday fury. He’s descended from the Crocker railroad fortune, his father was a career diplomat (which included stints as ambassador to Laos and Thailand), and Sheldon himself is the product of St. Paul’s and Yale. Good breeding, however, has not assured him good manners, at least politically.

At one level, climate change is almost a parochial issue in what’s known as the Ocean State; the Atlantic is getting bigger all the time, and, consequently, Rhode Island, which is not too big to start with, is shrinking. “It’s unbelievably important to Rhode Island,” Whitehouse told me in a conversation the other day. “Right now our coastal-resources agency is predicting nine to twelve feet of sea-level rise in this century. A little girl born in Providence today is going to live long enough to see that happen. And that’s before the storm surges that are sure to come as well.” (As it happens, Whitehouse’s wife, Sandra Whitehouse, is a marine biologist, who has reinforced his grasp of the science of global warming.)

Whitehouse arrived in the Senate in 2007, at a time when the recognition of global warming, as well as the fight against it, often had bipartisan support. “When I was sworn in, we had Republican-sponsored climate-change bills all over the place,” he told me, “You had John McCain running for President in 2008 on a strong climate platform. You could see American democracy actually starting to work at solving a difficult problem.”

But the momentum on the issue stopped suddenly in 2010, he said, with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. As Whitehouse sees it, the Supreme Court ruling in that and other related cases freed corporate interests, especially oil and gas companies, to browbeat Republican legislators into withdrawing support for any climate-change legislation. “The fossil-fuel industry acted like a sprinter off at a gunshot,” he said. “They told the Republicans, ‘Game over, no more crossing us or we will fuck you up.’ “ Whitehouse saw the 2010 defeat, in a Republican primary, of Bob Inglis, a congressman from South Carolina who had embraced climate science, as a critical event. “Americans for Prosperity”—the political organization tied to the Koch brothers—“said publicly that anybody who crossed them on climate change would be severely disadvantaged,” Whitehouse said. “They took credit for the political peril that they had created in stopping any Republican from going the green-energy route.”

Whitehouse’s book (written with Melanie Wachtell Stinnett) is called “Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy,” and it spells out, in considerable detail, the extent of corporate influence over a variety of issues, mostly wielded through campaign contributions. In the book, Whitehouse explains his support for tighter laws mandating disclosure of political contributions by corporations and others—which is one area that the Supreme Court, at least for now, still allows Congress to regulate. “A lot of the Citizens United problem could be solved if we knew where the money came from for all these ads,” he said. “The companies create these entities with fake names—like ‘Citizens for Nice Puppies’—which means that the sources of the money are unaccountable.”

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it's not looking good...


Hopes that the world’s huge carbon emissions might not drive temperatures up to dangerous levels have been dashed by new research.

The work shows that temperature rises measured over recent decades do not fully reflect the global warming already in the pipeline and that the ultimate heating of the planet could be even worse than feared.

How much global temperatures rise for a certain level of carbon emissions is calledclimate sensitivity and is seen as the single most important measure of climate change. Computer models have long indicated a high level of sensitivity, up to 4.5C for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere.

However in recent years estimates of climate sensitivity based on historical temperature records from the past century or so have suggested the response might be no more than 3C. This would mean the planet could be kept safe with lower cuts in emissions, which are easier to achieve.

But the new work, using both models and paleoclimate data from warming periods in the Earth’s past, shows that the historical temperature measurements do not reveal the slow heating of the planet’s oceans that takes place for decades or centuries after CO2 has been added to the atmosphere.

“The hope was that climate sensitivity was lower and the Earth is not going to warm as much,” said Cristian Proistosescu, at Harvard University in the US, who led the new research. “There was this wave of optimism.”

The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, has ended that. “The worrisome part is that all the models show there is an amplification of the amount of warming in the future,” he said. The situation might be even worse, as Proistosescu’s work shows climate sensitivity could be as high as 6C.

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Read from top... Note that Gus has been on top of this problem for a long time and alerted to it on this site, from 2005...


2.7 million years old ice...

A core drilled in Antarctica in 2015 has yielded 2.7-million-year-old ice, an astonishing find 1.7 million years older than the previous record-holder. Bubbles in the ice contain greenhouse gases from Earth's atmosphere at a time when the planet's cycles of glacial advance and retreat were just beginning, potentially offering clues to what triggered the ice age. While the discovery does not offer a continuous record of carbon dioxide in the ancient atmosphere like traditional ice cores, its "snapshots" will help calibrate proxies gleaned from the fossils of animals that lived in shallow oceans. The discovery also points the way to finding even older ice, because it comes from a largely ignored "blue ice" area, where peculiar dynamics can preserve old layers. Such records could reveal a time in Earth's past when temperatures are thought to resemble where the planet is headed with human-driven warming.


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It's most likely that the study of this ice core will tell us that WE ARE IN TROUBLE... Global warming will hit us in the face sooner than we think while we fiddle about our emissions of CO2...