Historical Climate Change

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Looking at the graphs presented by Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia on its Ice Age page showing temperature, carbon dioxide, and dust changes over the last 450,000 years, a few points are notable:

  1. Previous interglacial (warm) periods (higher temperatures on the graph) have gotten warmer than the current interglacial (warm) period based on temperature. These cannot be man-made.

  2. Some previous interglacial (warm) periods also had higher carbon dioxide levels than the current. These too cannot be man-made.

  3. Past measurements up to the most recent 150 years or so are based on estimates that may have some error, so that the magnitude and duration of change may be slightly off.

  4. The current interglacial (warm) period has lasted longer than previous interglacial (warm) periods. This may be partially due to Point No. 3. Changes in temperature over the last 150 years or so are based on actual measurements using thermometers. Previous changes are based on measurements using the tools mentioned here.

  5. Looking at the last few thousand years close up, it appears that the average temperature is decreasing, which would be expected if we are tending toward a new glacial (cold) period. See below.

  6. Higher dust levels correspond to the glacial (cold) periods and are low now.

So what about the last few thousand years? Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia shows a general increase in temperatures during the last 1,000 years. Even NOAA shows temperatures to be generally increasing during the last 2,000 years. Now I know I give very little credence, to some extent, to the analyses of ice cores, but even ice cores may indicate that other analyses may not be what they seem; in other words, not all ice cores are created equal. Take this one, which shows that temperatures have been trending downwards (colder) for the last 10,000 years. It also shows temperatures to be increasing during the last 300 years or so, more noticeably during the last 150 years.

But remember, 150 years marks the extent to which we have “actual” temperature measurements. You can look at temperature records from just about anywhere and get the impression that temperatures are increasing for the last few hundred years or so; like this study. But you need to look at temperatures prior to that time and just about every analysis agrees that temperatures have been warmer than they are now and may even be decreasing now.

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