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an exact fit

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 9 months ago


Mr Gore had also claimed - by ridiculing the opposite view - that two graphs, one plotting a rise in C02 and the other the rise in temperature over a period of 650,000 years, showed "an exact fit". The judge said although scientists agreed there was a connection, "the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts"


Note sorry for peculiar formatting, wiki editiing messed up here. Quick fix to make it legible...




Ice Cores: The 650,000 Record

The ice has stories to tell us.My friend Lonnie Thompson digs cores in the ice. They dig down and they bring the core drills back up and they look at the ice and they study it. When the snow falls it traps little bubbles of atmosphere. They can go in and measure how much CO2 was in the atmosphere the year that snow fell. What's even more interesting I think is they can measure the different isotopes of oxygen and figure out the very precise thermometer and tell you what the temperature was the year that bubble was trapped in the snow as it fell.

When I was in Antarctica I saw cores like this and the guy looked at it. He said right here is where the US Congress passed the Clean Air Act. I couldn't believe it but you can see the difference with the naked eye. Just a couple of years after that law was passed, it's very clearly distinguishable.


They can count back year by year the same way a forester reads tree rings. You can see each annual layer from the melting and refreezing, so they can go back in a lot of these mountain glaciers a thousand years. They constructed a thermometer of the temperature. The blue is cold and the red is warm. Now, I show this for a couple of reasons. Number one, the so called skeptics will sometimes say "Oh, this whole thing is cyclical phenomenon. There was a medieval warming period after all."


Well yeah there was. There it is right there. There are two others. But compared to what is going on now, there is just no comparison. So if you look at a thousand years worth of temperature and compare it to a thousand years of CO2 you can see how closely they fit together. Now, a thousand years of CO2 in the mountain glaciers, that is one thing. But in Antarctica, they can go back 650,000 years. This incidentally is the first time anybody outside of a small group of scientists have seen this image. This is the present day era and that's the last ice age. Then it goes up. We're going back in time now 650,000 years. That's the period of warming between the last two ice ages back. That's the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh ice age back.


CO2 Concentration Is Above 300 PPM


Now an important point: In all of this time, 650,000 years, the CO2 level has never gone above 300 parts per million. Now, as I said, they can also measure temperature. Here is what the temperature has been on our earth. One thing that kind of jumps out at you is. Let me put it this way. If my class mate from the sixth grade that talked about Africa and South America might have said, "Did they ever fit together?" Most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. But they did of course. The relationship is very complicated, but there is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this. When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside. In the parts of the United States that contain the modern cities of Cleveland, Detroit, New York in the northern tier, this is the difference between a nice day and having a mile of ice above your head. Keep that in mind when you look at this fact. Carbon dioxide having never gone above 300 PPM, here is where CO2 is now. Way above where it has ever been as far back as this record will measure. If you will bear with me I would like to emphasize this point. (fusses with elevator) It's already right here. Look how far above the natural cycle this is, and we've done that. But ladies and gentleman, in the next 50 years, really in less than 50 years it's going to continue to go up. When some of these children who are here are my age, here's where it's going to be in less than 50 years. You've heard of off the charts. Within less than 50 years it'll be here. There's not a single fact or date or number that's been used to make this up that is in any controversy. The so-called skeptics look at this and say, "So, that looks seems perfectly okay."


On the temperature side: If this much on the cold side is a mile of ice over our heads, what would that much on the warmer side be?


This is really not a political issue so much as a moral issue. If we allow that to happen, it is deeply unethical. I have such faith in our democratic system, our self-government, I actually thought and believed that the story would be compelling enough to cause a real sea change in the way Congress reacted to that. I thought they would be startled and they weren't.






4. Direct coincidence between rise in CO2 in the atmosphere and in temperature, by reference to two graphs.

In scenes 8 and 9, Mr Gore shows two graphs relating to a period of 650,000 years, one showing rise in CO2 and one showing rise in temperature, and asserts (by ridiculing the opposite view) that they show an exact fit. Although there is general scientific agreement that there is a connection, the two graphs do not establish what Mr Gore asserts.






I haven't the remotest idea what the judge is saying here! The ridicule is certainly very gentle at worst. More to the point, the core of the criticism seems pretty much nullified here: "The relationship is very complicated. But there is one relationship that is more powerful than all the others and it is this. When there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer, because it traps more heat from the sun inside."


I consider this the strongest moment in the film: "This is really not a political issue so much as a moral issue. If we allow that to happen, it is deeply unethical."




Oh no, not this one again. As far as I know the best explanation of the CO2-T in the deep cores comes from Eric Wolff; there is a longer RC version. The bottom line: the skeptics are completely wrong to say explicitly (as they do) that the CO2-T lag *disproves* GW. Gore's presentation is largely correct, and about as good as can be done within the space. The ice core record doesn't *prove* GW but is entirely consistent with it.


I think the judge should probably have left this one alone. It will be a bloody good school class and teacher that manage to make sense of the notes.


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