Earth: The Climate Wars (BBC 2008, Dr Iain Stewart) – Notes

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Earth: The Climate Wars (3 Parts, 3Hrs, BBC 2008, Dr Iain Stewart, U of Plymouth, UK)

Part 1: Battle Begins

  • Global Cooling in 1950s & 60s caused by Aerosol Particulate Pollution
  • Warming in 1970s, CO2 Effect Dominates, Particulate Pollution Laws
  • CO2 Candle Heat Absorption Experiment [22:00]
  • USA org JASON elite scientist group, Report 1979 predicts Global Warming [24:00]
  • Reagan commissions Nierenberg Report which diminishes GW predictions [26:00]
  • Greenland research USA Military City under the ice 1960s [40:00]
  • Ice samples used to determine past climate conditions.
  • Past climate changed dramatically, often & quickly. Theory of Rapid CC. [46:00]
  • Aerosols CFCs linked to Ozone depletion in upper atmosphere, discovered 1980s. [48:00]
  • Illustrates that human behaviour can affect the atmosphere in a short timescale. [50:00]
  • NASA James Hansen congressional testimony on Global Warming in 1988. [52:00]
  • Global Warming now an observation and not a mere prediction.
  • UNFCCC is formed and Thatcher speaks on dangers of GW [56:00]
  • 1990s backlash from business and politicians.

Part 2: Fightback

  • Climate Change skeptics.
  • Rio Earth Summit 1992 – Climate Change Convention [3:00].
  • Global temperature measurement. [9:00]
  • Record high temperatures through 80s & 90s.
  • Satellite measurements – Microwave Radiation.
  • NASA Earth Observation Satellite [14:00]
  • Satellite Data in 1990s showed slight cooling for 10 years. [14:00]
  • 1990 Documentary – The Greenhouse Conspiracy
  • Urban Heat Island Effect, concrete and roads trap heat. [19:00]
  • Natural phenomenon indicating warming. Ice melt.
  • Faulty satellite data – friction causing positional change. [23:00]
  • Manmade or Natural warming? [25:00]
  • Past temperature warmer? Greenland named in 1000AD, Erik the Red. [26:00]
  • Medieval Warm Period.
  • Michael Mann Penn State, Tree records West USA 2-4k years old. [30:00]
  • Climate temperature proxies. Trees, corals, ancient snow pack.
  • Hockey stick Graph. Symbol of manmade climate change.
  • No sign of Medieval Warm period in graph.
  • High temp of end of 20th century is unprecedented over past 1000 years. [39:00]
  • Sun activity, sun spots, argued by sceptics as main driver of climate change. [41:00]
  • Record show low activity in 1600s coincident with the Little Ice Age.
  • The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary, 2007 [46:00]
  • Oil and Automotive business forms The Global Climate Coalition in 1990s. [49:00]
  • 2003 US Republican Government document reveals plan to cover up the science.

Part 3: Fight for the Future

  • Global Warming is happening.
  • What are the predicted consequences?
  • Simplified lab experimentation.
  • Climate modelling using computers. [8:00]
  • Complexity of climate data overwhelmed early computers.
  • Modelling effect of CO2 concentrations on temperature.
  • Doubling of CO2 increases temperature by 3 degrees.
  • 1991 volcanic eruption sends gas and particles into atmosphere. [14:00]
  • NASA Hansen models predict volcano effects accurately.
  • Poles warm more than equator.
  • Field research in Antarctica works in tandem with computer modelling. [20:00]
  • Rapid melting of ice sheets and glaciers confirms warming.
  • Potential for significant sea level rise.
  • Field data and observations fed into computer models to improve accuracy.
  • 1961 Lorenz model illustrate sensitivity of rounding of numbers. Butterfly Effect – Chaos Theory.
  • Data from multiple runs of climate models converge to form prediction.
  • Variance in insect record indicator of changing climate conditions. [30:00]
  • Ice core analysis examines the Younger Dryas period or Big Freeze, a geologically brief (1,300 ± 70 years) period of cold climatic conditions and drought which occurred between approximately 12,000 years ago. [33:00]
  • A 5 degree transition, ice age to warm in 1 year.
  • Such an unprecedented change for modern civilisation would have large impacts on food production and fresh water supply.
  • Arctic spring is happening a month early in Greenland.
  • Sea ice thickness has been reducing (40%) over past 30 years. [43:00]
  • Anasazi civilisation (South-Western USA) evidence of catastrophic climate change and conflict 700 years ago. [47:00]
  • Tim Barnett (U of San Diego) predicts Lake Mead (Hoover Dam) water supply becomes ineffective by 2020 in BAU scenario. [54:00]
  • Climate scientists are fearful of GW consequences.
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