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Thread: WWII and global climate change

  1. #1 WWII and global climate change 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Just a thought that might bear some discussion.

    The world warmed from 1910 to 1940 by 0.4 C. This warming runs alongside the greatest increase in solar activity in 1000 years, as shown by sunspot activity. However, there was a difficulty with this interpretation. That is, there was a significant cooling from 1940 to 1950, while solar activity continued to increase.

    I wondered if it might have something to do with World War 2. This war began in 1939 and ran to 1945. Is it possible that wartime activities changed the Earth's atmosphere in such a way as to cause cooling? Of sufficient strength to reverse the effect of increasing solar activity?

    If this is possible, the timing is right. Allow one year lag period (1939), and assuming that the changes are sufficient to keep the world cooler for a while after the end of the war, and the correlation is there.


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    The pre-1940 warming has been examined, and the below offers a lot of insight.


    http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/p...scirep_345.pdf
    Instead, and much more indisputable, we propose here that the warming was caused by the steadily increasing transport of warm water into the Barents Sea driven by increasing south westerly to westerly winds between Spitsbergen and the northernmost Norwegian coast. Between 1920 and 1940 the observed pressure gradient increased by some 8 mb corresponding to an average geostrophic wind anomaly of 6 ms-1. This lead to increased transport of warm water into the Barents Sea, with a major reduction of sea ice in this region, where the largest atmospheric temperature anomalies also occur. As we will further demonstrate using model simulations, the reduced sea ice coverage is the main reason for the increased Arctic temperature. A close link between observed sea ice and temperature variability has also been established by century long sea ice analysis (Johannessen et al., 2003, Zakharov, 1997), supporting the model simulations.

    <...>

    The Arctic 1920-1940 warming is one of the most puzzling climate anomalies of the 20th century. Over a period of some fifteen years the Arctic warmed by 1.7 C and remained warm for more than a decade. This is a warming in the region comparable in magnitude what is to be expected as a consequence of anthropogenic climate change in the next several decades. A gradual cooling commenced in the late 1940s bringing the temperature back to much lower values although not as cold as before the warming started. Here, we have shown that this warming was associated and presumably initiated by a major increase in the westerly to south-westerly wind north of Norway leading to enhanced atmospheric and ocean heat transport from the comparatively warm North Atlantic Current through the passage between northern Norway and Spitsbergen into the Barents Sea. It should be stressed that the increased winds were not related to the NAO, which in fact weakened during the 1920s and remained weak for the whole period of the warm Arctic anomaly. We have shown that the process behind the warming was most likely reduced sea ice cover, mainly in the Barents Sea. This is not an unexpected finding because of the climate effect of sea ice compared to that of an open sea, but intriguing since previously available sea ice data (Chapman and Walsh, 1993) did not indicate a reduced sea ice cover in the 1930s and 1940s. However, as we have shown here recent sea ice data sets (Johannessen et al., 2003 for a detailed presentation) actually showed a retreat in this period. Experiments with an atmospheric model forced with different sea ice data sets as well examination of a coupled model integration are in quantitative agreement with the observational data, broadly suggesting a 1C warming for a reduction of the Arctic sea ice with 1Mkm2.

    An evaluation of the coupled model suggests that a major part of the warming is caused by transport of warm ocean water, in the upper most 125 m of the ocean model, into the Barents Sea, driven by stronger than the normal surface winds.
    Now, as per your specific suggestion about WWII, it's possible, but it seems there are existing explanations about the difference which account for the data available. Unfortunately, while providing some context, I'm not sure what I've presented above really addresses your question (the whole study is a cool read, though).


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  4. #3  
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    Your suggestion of oceanic currents causing the 1910 to 1940 warming does not make clear the issue of cause and effect. Was the change in ocean current a cause of warming, or was it an effect of warming? If it caused the warming, then what caused the change in oceanic currents?

    Frankly I do not believe the explanation you quoted. I think it is spurious. We have further history. The Medieval Warm Period of about 900 AD to 1200 AD also 'coincided' with a period of intense sunspot activity. The Little Ice Age 'coincided' with the lowest level of sunspot actvitity in 1000 years, and the lowest point of the Little Ice Age 'coincided' with the Maunder Minimum - a time of almost zero sunspot activity. The 1910 to 1940 warming was the second most intensive warming period of the past 1000 years, and 'coincided' with the greatest increase in sunspot activity in 1000 years.

    The last few years have been very low sunspot activity, and warming has slowed dramatically.

    Come on, guy! How many times do you have to see the pattern before it ceases to be coincidence.

    Sure, the warming of 1976 to 2005 was the most intense and definitely caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas increase. However, solar activity, as demonstrated by sunspot numbers, correlates so well and so often with changes in global climate that to deny the link is kind of bizarre.

    I am aware that solar activity may not be easily accepted, since a clear cut mechanism still is hard to pin down. Solar radiance changes are too small to account for global climate changes. However, when the sun decides to get active, there are a heap of other influences besides total radiance. eg. the sun's magnetic field that extends around the Earth increases in strength. It reduces the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth. This in turn reduces the number of lightning strikes in our atmosphere. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...1c42b767f91521

    There are lots of possible indirect ways that changes in solar activity may affect Earth climate. eg. High solar activity puts out more energy in the ultra violet spectrum.
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    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Frankly I do not believe the explanation you quoted. I think it is spurious.
    No worries, mate. Suit yourself. I've offered you a well referenced internally consistent study of the involved mechanisms surrounding the phenomenon you described, and you have offered a gut feeling as reason to reject it. There is one of those approaches which tends more often to be correct than the other. You decide which to go with. Cheers.
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  6. #5  
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    No gut feel. Pure logic and rational thinking. It is much more likely that solar activity is the main factor in this case, since there is a pattern running over more than 1000 years of changes in solar activity correlating with climate change. This is more reasonable than simply claiming that those correlations are coincidence. Or that a one off change in ocean current, with no known cause or precedent, should suddenly change world climate.

    For the 1910 to 1940 warming, the change most definitely correlates with, not just an increase in solar activity, but the biggest increase in 1000 years. Which is more likely? A change in oceanic currents, with no cause mentioned causes a substantial change in wolrd climate. Or a change in solar activity of a type seen before many times, does what it has done before, and led to a change in climate? And the climatic change resuts in a change in an oceanic current?
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  7. #6 Re: WWII and global climate change 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Is it possible that wartime activities changed the Earth's atmosphere in such a way as to cause cooling?
    Good thinking. Besides the intriguing coincidence of WW2 I see ...think i see... several anthropic correlations in last century's record. I'll slap a few historic dates and periods over a graph tonight, and post it up.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    iNow

    No gut feel. Pure logic and rational thinking. It is much more likely that solar activity is the main factor in this case, since there is a pattern running over more than 1000 years of changes in solar activity correlating with climate change. This is more reasonable than simply claiming that those correlations are coincidence. Or that a one off change in ocean current, with no known cause or precedent, should suddenly change world climate.

    For the 1910 to 1940 warming, the change most definitely correlates with, not just an increase in solar activity, but the biggest increase in 1000 years. Which is more likely? A change in oceanic currents, with no cause mentioned causes a substantial change in wolrd climate. Or a change in solar activity of a type seen before many times, does what it has done before, and led to a change in climate? And the climatic change resuts in a change in an oceanic current?
    I don't see how anyone can ignore the known power change and refuse to see how it makes changes in heat.

    Oh well.
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  9. #8  
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    I used red where fantastic industrial growth and automobile production should drive warming.

    Economic slowdown of the Depression should have curbed warming associated with the "Roaring Twenties" boom.

    The first green column actually includes many changes we'd now call "green": Obsolescence of coal, firewood, dirty fuels for heat and power that involved a fireplace or firebox and chimney; replaced by smokeless gas furnaces and appliances, electric power and electric heat. Ships, tractors, trains, and factories also stopped belching black soot as they converted from dirty fuels to cleaner internal combustion or electric motor.

    The modern environmental movement initially focused on air pollution concerns, which then meant smog (particulates) thickly visible over major cities and industrial lands. I think it's worth remembering we did greatly reduce that component of emissions, and recent sightings (or smellings) of atmospheric pollution really pale in comparison. This is not to deny an increase in less obvious emissions, CO2 most prominently now.

    The last blue column could be pure coincidence. Please excuse the injection of politics.

    Over this period, CO2 emissions rose gradually until about 1948, when they began a steady steeper climb. There was no dip in CO2 from 1948 until the early 80's recession. Otherwise, CO2 closely follows global population.

    I would like to have included land use, so mention a few points here: The 1910's and 1920's witnessed the largest growth of agricultural footprint, as the Great Plains of North America and similar regions around the Earth became susceptible to dry land farming innovations including the newfangled gas tractors, harvesters, and irrigators. A later boom in agricultural production, beginning 1945 and dubbed "the Green Revolution" was devoted to increasing yields and therefore did not so rapidly expand our surface coverage. However land-sourced natural aerosols, which plankton depends upon for food, has diminished significantly and must continue to as we combat desertification.

    I am not meaning to pose an argument by my treatment of the graph. I hope to inform the OP speculation. What, if anything, is causative I really don't know.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong


    I used red where fantastic industrial growth and automobile production should drive warming.
    Well, I would start by saying your 2.25 degree is a bit high compared to the antarctic. If we wish to claim CO2 is the primary driver, shouldn't the poles be similar? If you ask me, this supports the soot-on-ice theory rather well!

    Why didn't you add solar forcing?
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Economic slowdown of the Depression should have curbed warming associated with the "Roaring Twenties" boom.
    Except the sun started getting hotter about 1900.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    The first green column actually includes many changes we'd now call "green": Obsolescence of coal, firewood, dirty fuels for heat and power that involved a fireplace or firebox and chimney; replaced by smokeless gas furnaces and appliances, electric power and electric heat. Ships, tractors, trains, and factories also stopped belching black soot as they converted from dirty fuels to cleaner internal combustion or electric motor.
    But the sun was getting hotter and hotter until about 1950.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    The modern environmental movement initially focused on air pollution concerns, which then meant smog (particulates) thickly visible over major cities and industrial lands. I think it's worth remembering we did greatly reduce that component of emissions, and recent sightings (or smellings) of atmospheric pollution really pale in comparison. This is not to deny an increase in less obvious emissions, CO2 most prominently now.
    Well, during and after the war, we had unprecedented levels of pollution, reflecting/blocking direct sunlight, reducing the greenhouse effect. It should have risen instead of lowered, at least a little past todays levels in my opinion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    The last blue column could be pure coincidence. Please excuse the injection of politics.
    Well, you are excused. I try to keep politics out of this, even thought that is what drives the fear partially.

    Without looking it up, it could be so many things. Maybe the more environmental regulations being in place along with more old cars in the junkyards. Maybe it stabilized to this level until newer emission regulations were in force. By this time, all new vehicles had some pretty clean emissions systems on them. Then there are possible natural changes as well.

    Let's face it. Trying to correlate cause and effect under such circumstances are more guesswork than science.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Over this period, CO2 emissions rose gradually until about 1948, when they began a steady steeper climb. There was no dip in CO2 from 1948 until the early 80's recession. Otherwise, CO2 closely follows global population.
    If CO2 is the cause of warmning, then why were we cooling between 1948 to 1970?
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I would like to have included land use, so mention a few points here: The 1910's and 1920's witnessed the largest growth of agricultural footprint, as the Great Plains of North America and similar regions around the Earth became susceptible to dry land farming innovations including the newfangled gas tractors, harvesters, and irrigators. A later boom in agricultural production, beginning 1945 and dubbed "the Green Revolution" was devoted to increasing yields and therefore did not so rapidly expand our surface coverage. However land-sourced natural aerosols, which plankton depends upon for food, has diminished significantly and must continue to as we combat desertification.
    Great that you are thinking about such things.

    Please do not ignore the known thermal science of the solar changes. They are most easily calculated and accounted for.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I am not meaning to pose an argument by my treatment of the graph. I hope to inform the OP speculation. What, if anything, is causative I really don't know.
    I can appreciate that. I just ask that you calculate the direct and indirect forcing the sun causes as well.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    It is common for people to oversimplify climate science. Warming or cooling are trends driven by several different factors. We know that major volcanic eruptions lead to a period of cooling. It is reasonable to suspect that air pollution could achieve the same thing, which is, I guess, what I was driving at in suggesting WWII might have led to a cooling period.

    Solar activity is an important factor, but so is greenhouse gases. The warming period of 1976 to 2005 saw CO2 increasing at a rate ten times as rapidly as the warming of 1910 to 1940. This suggest to me that the 1910 to 1940 warming was less influenced by CO2 increase, and more by solar increase. However, without some factor such as WWII, the cooling of 1940 to 1950, at a time when solar activity was still on the increase, becomes hard to explain.
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  12. #11  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Except the sun started getting hotter about 1900.
    <...>
    But the sun was getting hotter and hotter until about 1950.
    You've oversimplified. I offer the below for clarity:




    More here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/sola...al-warming.htm


    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    If CO2 is the cause of warmning, then why were we cooling between 1948 to 1970?
    See the very first response to this thread. Your question has been addressed already.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Except the sun started getting hotter about 1900.
    <...>
    But the sun was getting hotter and hotter until about 1950.
    You've oversimplified. I offer the below for clarity:

    Yep, the solar increases fit nicely with a slight lag in temperature, until WWII and other industrialization, Then when we cleared the skies again, the effect from the earlier solar warming becomes a reality.

    Want me to believe that CO2 warming has increased by 1.66 watts since 1750? Then show me some solid evidence it cause a decrease in the IR window from about 42.86% to about 42.7%. I say that rather than the 0.12% change I used in the other thread because the radiative forcing is somewhere around 260 watts by the same people who say CO2 increased it by 1.66 watts. I'm not sure what model to believe, but if we are going to believe the IPCC, then lets see their number at work. My response in the other thread is for the NASA/GISS model found in Wiki.
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  14. #13  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    I really don't care what you believe, Wild Cobra... and I truly mean that.
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  15. #14  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Why didn't you add solar forcing?

    ...the sun... the sun... sunlight... the solar changes... I just ask that you calculate the direct and indirect forcing the sun causes as well.
    I didn't add solar forcing because we're talking about WW2 and factors in the same vein. We needn't superimpose solar activity over everything we look at.

    Hey I've got an idea let's address the topic!
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  16. #15  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    Why didn't you add solar forcing?

    ...the sun... the sun... sunlight... the solar changes... I just ask that you calculate the direct and indirect forcing the sun causes as well.
    I didn't add solar forcing because we're talking about WW2 and factors in the same vein. We needn't superimpose solar activity over everything we look at.

    Hey I've got an idea let's address the topic!
    Typical.

    Ignore the factors you don't want to consider.
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