An article giving strong evidence of global warming

A fascinating article, which I recommend to anyone interested in our changing climate or modern geopolitics:

“The Present Climatic Fluctuation” by Hans W. Ahlmann (namesake of the Ahlmann Glacier), of the Swedish Geographical Institute, published in The Geographical Journal, Volume 112, No. 4/6, pages 165-193.

This powerfully reasoned and data-rich article makes a strong case for global warming.  Especially noteworthy are his conclusions about the significance of these trends for humanity (see below).


The present climatic fluctuation has been discussed since the 1920’s almost exclusively in scientific circles, although recently it has become a subject of more than academic interest.  The reason for this is the increasingly obvious consequences of this climatic phenomenon on both physical and biological conditions, in Europe and elsewhere. Ordinary people are beginning to realize that something has happened and is happening which is of great interest to themselves. The last dry summer, which transformed large parts of Western Europe into a virtual steppe, increased this interest and also caused anxiety, though this drought cannot be said with any certainty to belong to the present climatic fluctuation.

One generally differentiates between climatic variation and climatic fluctuation, meaning by the former a change of climate maintained over a long period of time, by the latter a change over a shorter period. Climatic variations of primary importance are exemplified by the Ice Age glaciations with inter-glacial epochs. Transitional between variations of primary importance and fluctuations we have the climatic changes which have taken place since the last pleistocene glaciation, in post-glacial and historical times.

Outline of the article

The author presents a wide range of evidence showing global warming.

  1. Climatological evidence
  2. Glaciological evidence
  3. Oceanographical evidence
  4. Biological evidence
  5. Eustatic evidence (concerning the variation of sea level)

Esp. interesting are the compelling photos of Abrekkeg glacier, showing recession since 1869.

The author’s conclusions (bold emphasis added)

Finally we must ask ourselves how we can best help to elucidate the whole problem of the present climatic fluctuation. The Antarctic occupies a key position. In addition to thorough investigations in the Antarctic, we must have systematic meteorological observations with radiosonde, if possible in sections right up into the stratosphere and extending from Pole to Pole; from the main Antarctic inland ice, over the permanent British stations in Graham Land and on through South and North America. Of no less importance would be a similar section through Africa via Kilimanjaro and on through Europe and Spitsbergen.

If we find in the Antarctic similar evidence of the present climatic fluctuation as has been found in other parts of the world, we shall be justified in concluding that the present fluctuation is a world-wide phenomenon and probably the result of variations in solar activity which, slow as they may be to take effect, are actually resulting in an improvement in the climate of our world.

The publication date is October – December of 1948.  And yes, he sees global warming as beneficial to humanity.  Why do we find this strange?  Throughout history cooling has been the malefactor, associated with crop failures and plagues.  Warming, while often disruptive (like any change), means better growing conditions for most areas.  People die from overheating in the summer, but far more die from freezing in winter.

My conclusions

The useful conclusions from this have nothing to do with the correctness of this paper’s data, reasoning, or conclusions.

(1)  Anthropological global warming (AGW, caused by us) is more difficult to prove than global warming

The data showed clear indications of global warming in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Hence the difficulty of demonstrating AGW as a substantial driver of current warming, since the natural warming trend was established before massive global industrialization.  Proving causation requires more than showing a trend, since the trend was already there.  This is a repeated fallacy of general media articles about global warming (but not, of course, of the climate science literature).

(2)  Keeping the public ignorant of normal climate cycles

The inconvenient truth about 19th and 20th century warming is omitted from many “educational” articles and movies, along with any mention of past climatic swings.  Doing so makes it easier to arouse fears about AGW by exploiting the public’s ignorance of history and logic.  AGW can be proven by appealing to post hoc ergo propter hoc — if industrialization preceded warming, then industrialization must have caused warming.  This is a wonderful use of propaganda:  false fact used to support false logic.

(3) Will warming on balance help or hurt humanity?

A thorough, balanced analysis might show that the global warming forecast will cause net harm to humanity.  Or perhaps not.  Has anyone done such an analysis?  Unfortunately today the path to fame and glory today comes from articles attributing only ill effects from global warming – no matter how outlandish.  One can read many, many articles before finding any hints that warming might have a few good effects.

This one-sided, often exaggerated, outlook is a primary indication of propaganda.  It need not be a centrally directed or even coordinated campaign to have great impact.

Update:  another look at the data

(hat tip to the Instapundit“Does a Spin-Orbit Coupling Between the Sun and the Jovian Planets Govern the Solar Cycle?”, I. R. G. Wilson A , C , B. D. Carter B and I. A. Waite B, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia (26 June 2008) — Abstract:

We present evidence to show that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in its orbital motion about the barycentre of the Solar System. We propose that this synchronization is indicative of a spin-orbit coupling mechanism operating between the Jovian planets and the Sun. … Based on our claim that changes in the Sun’s equatorial rotation rate are synchronized with changes in the Sun’s orbital motion about the barycentre, we propose that the mean period for the Sun’s meridional flow is set by a Synodic resonance between the flow period (~22.3 yr), the overall 178.7-yr repetition period for the solar orbital motion, and the 19.86-yr synodic period of Jupiter and Saturn.

What does this mean?  See “Cooling coming“, Andrew Bolt, of Australia (29 June 2008) — excerpt:

Or as one of the authors, Ian Wilson, kindly explained to me:  “It supports the contention that the level of activity on the Sun will significantly diminish sometime in the next decade and remain low for about 20 – 30 years. On each occasion that the Sun has done this in the past the World’s mean temperature has dropped by ~ 1 – 2 C. “


Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For information about this site see the About page, at the top of the right-side menu bar.

For more information about global climate change

(a)  Other posts on this site

  1. A look at the science and politics of global warming  (12 June 2008)
  2. Global warming means more earthquakes!  (19 June 2008)
  3. Worrying about the Sun and climate change – cycle 24 is late  (10 July 2008)
  4. Update: is Solar Cycle 24 late (a cooling cycle, with famines, etc)?  (15 July 2008)
  5. More forecasts of a global cooling cycle  (15 July 2008)

(b)  Information from other sources

  1. SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR THE LAST 2,000 YEARS“, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES (2006) — aka The North Report.
  2. Report of the “Ad Hoc Committee on the Hockey Stick Global Climate Reconstruction”, commissioned by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (July 2006) — aka The Wegman Report.  Also note this excerpt from the Q&A session of the Dr. Edward J. Wegman’s testimony.
  3. The role of statisticians in public policy debates over climate change“, Richard L. Smith, American Statistical Association – Section on Statistics & the Environment Newsletter (Spring 2007) — One of the too-few reports by statisticians on the climate change literature.
  4. A timeline of the science and politics of climate science.
  5. Bibliography by year of climate science research

51 thoughts on “An article giving strong evidence of global warming”

  1. zap Louisiana

    Yall are trying to be too scientific yall are too smart for your owen good.Basic science begins with using your senses including common sense.In Louisiana we drill and refine oil.I look out my window i see no pollution!Ower fishing and seafood is the best in the world!So this means ower water is not polluted.SO how maney more Brainiact debates yall want to waste your energy on?GW people want it profit,comon sense people dont want it becaue its a waste of resourses that could go toward energy replacement research!

    Democrats want GW because they need some place to put all those liberal trained scientist that went to school and were given degrees for reciting Carl Marxism!They have never developed alternitive fuels only looser bandaid ideas that dont work in the real world.

    There are coral reefs in dessert regions, there are coral reefs in tropical regions,if one dies off somthing will take its place!Its called natural selection!You brainiacts!Keep your panties on!Where you live or where your home was built once had something else living there,now its gone!

  2. “Fabius Maximus replies: this misses the major point of my post. You are conflating global warming with human-caused warming. The first is generally agreed-upon, but far beyond our control. The latter is possible, but difficult to distinguish from the former. You show evidence of damage from global warming. If this is a natural climate cycle, like the countless ones throughout Earth’s history, these is little we can do about it.”

    dear me max, i can see where you’d take the position that i am conflating agw and natural ocellation, but that would require your “major point” to be your only point. it wasn’t.

    you started this article with your 3 “conclusions” stemming from the 1948 article that you used to jump start your thoughts leading into this discussion.

    your 3rd. conclusion – the only one that bore a direct relation to the 1948 article – specifically asked “Will warming on balance help or hurt humanity?”; it made no mention of distinguishing between causes, nor could it: where by construction the consequence of warming is exclusively addressed, the cause of warming is constructively excluded.

    i chose to respond to your third conclusion because it is more interesting to me; in my experience of these ‘discussions’ it is uncommon to be able to respond as though asked about the consequence of global warming in terms of ‘net balance’; all too often what is happening is completely overlooked in favor what appears to be unheard argument

    personally, i’d go so far as to say i know why these ‘discussions’ are going on, and that i’ve no interest in making things more difficult, but i do like to think, and read, and learn (and its true, i like constructive argument).

    then there is this: i am irked that we aren’t (yet?) properly anarchistic; we don’t, enmass, see, and do, the ‘right’ thing – and that, in light of what’s going on, irks me.

    as a practical matter, what i’ve gained from my participation in this thread is a much better appreciation of the subtle yet deep reaching impact of global warming, and i’ve gained the rekindling of a primary interest of mine having to do with population(s).

    so, i leave this thread here. best regards to all.

    p.s. “Fabius says – Please no more comments about the validity of global warming or anthropological global warming. This site is about geopolitics, not Climate Science. I lack the expertise to evaluate the professional climate science literature, as do I suspect most of the folks commenting on it.”

    may one then not here find relief from tedious presumption within the bounds of proper response to a direct question outside tedious bounds? :) b.r,

  3. In Louisiana i have seen freshwater marshes turn to salt water marsh and visa verse and guess what?We still caught fish!They were diffrent species but life did not go extinct.I even saw barnecals growing on telephone post on streets of New Orleans after Katrinas flooding went down!Mother nature rules not algorism!

    Fabius,all you do is debate what another man (expert) has decreed to be the rule.Its like a chess game.I dont know of these experts and idont need them. My expirences tell me what is right and wrong.Its like eating onions,if you dont like them nothing can change your mind.Locking horns with liberals is like pissing in the wind!This is what mama always said.

    I forgot to explaine, down here in cajun land we live on the water,in the swamps we are ower owen scientist,geowhat ever.WE are experts when it comes to nature we feel the heart beat.I dont need another mans theory.We were taught by ower anciestors.Yall dont live outdoors in nature that is why you have to relate to some elses theorys.

  4. Pingback: » An article giving strong evidence of global warming

  5. t. twigg-smith

    you all ought to read “Unstoppable Global Warming” (February 2007) by fred singer and dennis avery. gives solid evidence documented by thousands of qualified research scientists of a 1,500 year cycle “controlling” earth’s global weather record.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I have only heard of their book. The authors are


    For an introduction to their work:

    Here is a detailed explanation of their theory at the NATIONAL CENTER FOR POLICY ANALYSIS website.

    Here is the 22 page transcript of a open discussion with the authors held at the Hudson Institute.

    Avery and Singer: Unstoppable hot air“, a rebuttal at Realclimate. Really weak, I thought. Esp the comment that “Avery was very careful to crop his temperature plots at 1985, rather than show the data to 2005.” — an amazing thing to say given the reluctance of many pro-AGM climate scientists to update much of canonical proxies used in the hockey stick.

    Singer is perhaps best known for this (from his Wikipedia bio):

    “During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Dr. S. Fred Singer debated Carl Sagan on the impact of the Kuwaiti petroleum fires on the ABC News program Nightline. Sagan said we know from the nuclear winter investigation that the smoke would loft into the upper atmosphere and that he believed the net effects would be very similar to the explosion of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815, which resulted in the year 1816 being known as the year without a summer, in massive agricultural failures, in very serious human suffering and, in some cases, starvation. He predicted the same for south Asia, and perhaps for a significant fraction of the northern hemisphere as well as a result.

    “Singer, on the other hand, said that calculations showed that the smoke would go to an altitude of about 3,000 feet and then be rained out after about three to five days and thus the lifetime of the smoke would be limited.

    “According to a later study, the Kuwaiti oil fires, “had no lasting meteorological impacts at any of the locations examined, and there has been no change to the seasonal synoptic weather patterns throughout the Persian Gulf Region”. “

  6. FM, Arthur C Clark postulated that we could control the temperature of the Earth by varying CO2 and the other Greenhouse Gasses(it was one of his arguments for saving, not wasting fossil fuels). Ok lets postulate that global warming is happening caused by other, non human, causes. Now we know from basic physics that variations in GGs will heat or cool the planet.

    Therefore, we are in warming period caused by unknown reasons. This warming may cause destructive effects. But we have the knowledge to vary that affect by reducing CO2 and the other GGs.

    Equally, if we start to move into a colder period (e.g fully into a ice age period) then that is the time to increase GG gasses into the atmosphere to keep the planet warmer.

    Either way, whether global warming is natural or human caused, we can manage it by varying greenhouse gasses.
    Fabius Maximus replies: True, in theory. But our knowledge of planetary dynamics is so little, that geo-engineering on the scale you suggest is very risky. The equations of the major global climate models — on which such an experiment depends — have never been reviewed by outside parties. Their internal workings, their software, has not been reviewed by outside parties. And last, their forecasts (output) has been inadequately tested against real-world results over a long baseline of time — so we do not know how well they work.

    When doing geo-engineering today we would be like children fiddling with the controls on a TV (color, horizonal, vertical, etc). The odds of improving the picture would be slight.

  7. I’m not not a scientist, but I do understand a few things. When I first read about the global warming theory, I realized that it had enormous political implications and that environmentalists would seize on it and overstate it as they have everything else. From a materialist viewpoint, we are mere products of evolution and very recent ones at that.

    The trope that mankind can kill or save the planet is just nonsense, and the view that we owe it to the planet, the scenery, some future generation, or the other lifeforms to protect them is a religious argument, not a scientific one. The argument is made that the only way to deal with this “danger” is to reverse the industrial revolution, but why should it not just as validly be to develop better technology? Environmentalists have a worse track record in prescribing solutions than just allowing people to follow their own common sense. It seems to me that what is really driving them is the desire for power more than anything scientific.

    When science becomes just another political or commercial football, it becomes unreliable and untrustworthy. I don’t believe everything I hear in commercials, including political ads, and environmentalism has become just another branch of liberal politics.

  8. Actually I have to disagree FM. The maths are available to everyone as are many models. Simply goto to Nasa and you can have the source code for some of the models, you can even run them on your own PC, eg:

    (1) GISS GCM – Model E FORTRAN 90 source and documentation for a 2004 version of the new GISS series of coupled …
    (2) GISS GCM – Model AOM-GR FORTRAN source and documentation ..
    (3) GISS GCM – Model II, FORTRAN source and documentation for the 1980s version of the GISS global climate model …

    All at:

    Our knowledge of climate is incomplete, yes, but dont underestimate what we already know. For example: I gave, in a previous post, the work done on midges as past climate indicators. There is some wonderful science going on here with some of the best minds on the planet working on it, and in the old idea of the worldwide scientific community, it really is a global effort.

    To AST, my moniker is OldSkeptic. Yes be skeptical, that is the true scientific way. But if you want to be a skeptic then you have a responsibility to examine the evidence for yourself and make up your own mind. To just deny everything is not being skeptical or scientific. To say you wont believe anything is silly. Go to the IPCC site ( read the reports and data. Goto the links at the source areas. Examine the data. Make up your own mind then. Now I got a rap under the knuckles from FM because I did that. I downloaded huge amounts of data and reports and examined it myself. Now I came to my own conclusion, I urge you (and others) to do the same and then make an informed decision about what you accept.

    I should add the ” reverse the industrial revolution” is so far from what I (and so many, e.g FM) believe in that it is ridiculous. I want fusion reactors, superbatteries, 400kph trains, etc. I rail against cuts in scientific research. Me? I’d triple research and development money .. at least.
    Fabius Maximus replies: (1) Where are the 3rd party reviews by multi-disciplinary teams of these models? That was my point, not that the models themselves were unavailable. (2) “dont underestimate what we already know.” I do not understand your point.

  9. Now that we’re pretty sure we need to blow a huge wad on some kind of Keynsian stimulus, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on rank ordering the merits of competing forms of stimulus spending. If the contest is between digging holes and filling them up vs AGW countermeasures vs infrastructure repair and so on, we need a framework to rank order these or the AGW crowd is going to have their way with us.
    Fabius Maximus replies: There is quite a literature on this, with no clear answer. The greatest short-term stimulus comes from things like food-stamps (“Assessing the Macro Economic Impact of Fiscal Stimulus 2008“, Mark M. Zandi, Moody’s, January 2008). Of course, that is just funding consumption — digging future generations in to a deeper hole.

    Building things that increase productivity have long-term benefits of a different kind — esp if they generate income that can repay the debt that funded their construction (e.g., railroads).

    Sweet for now, deadly for America over the long-term are the politically easy options: (1) tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich and (2) building useless infrastructure. To see examples of latter, look at most “earmarks” like those listed here and here). An example from 2007 is $1 million for the Museum at Bethel Woods:

    The Museum at Bethel Woods is an immersive and captivating multi-media experience that combines film and interactive displays, text panels and artifacts to explore the unique experience of the Woodstock festival, its significance as a culminating event of a decade of radical cultural transformation, and the legacy of the Sixties and Woodstock today. (source)

    1. It is astonishing how much misinformation people learn by reading about current issues. Venus is hot, but that has near-zero relevance to climate dynamics on Earth.

      (1) Venus is hotter than Earth because it is closer to the Sun. Venus is aprox 0.72 AU distant from the sun (i.e., 72% of Earth’s), with a total solar irradiance (TSI) almost 2x that of Earth.

      (2) Venus is hotter than Earth because the the atmosphere is denser. The pressure on Venus is 93x that of Earth, the equivalent of being almost 1 kilometer under the ocean. This is probably the single largest factor accounting for its high temperature.

      (3) The clouds of Venus are mostly sulphuric acid, not water vapor — a more powerful greenhouse agent.

      (4) The atmosphere of Venus has roughly 3000x more co2 than Earth’s atmosphere.

      1. NASA fact sheet for Venus : “96.5% Carbon Dioxide (CO2) by volume.
      2. NASA fact sheet for Earth : “Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – 380ppm” — which is 0.038%

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