1 Jan

The age old battle of the thermostat – the ‘Goredian’ Knot of global temperature

Anthony Watts @ Watts Up With That:

People send me stuff.

Reader Kurt writes:

I just found your excellent website and have book marked it and will visit it often for updates. One simple question the global warm-mongers have never been able to answer is…

…that if in fact warming is taking place as they claim, what then is the optimum temperature of the Earth? Can they give us a number? is it 55 degrees? 78 degrees? 85 degrees? 98.6? Al Gore says the Earth has a fever – then what is the “normal” temperature?

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I thought about that long and hard, and thought to myself that it is sort of like a “Goldilocks” subjective temperature for porridge:

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.

“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.

So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.

“This porridge is too cold,” she said

So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.

“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.

But what is “just right” for Earth’s temperature? Depending on who you might ask, I suspect you’d get different answers.

The Neanderthals, who lived through the last ice age, 10,000 to 70,000 years ago, might say “uggghaa bok mak!” or in present language “warmer than it is now!”.

Ancient Greece, living in their age of enlightenment, which flourished during the 5th to 4th centuries BC might remark “είναι σωστό τώρα, τον πολιτισμό μας ευδοκιμεί” or “it is correct now, our civilization is thriving”.

The Romans, who lived through the Roman Warm Period from 250 BC to 400 might say “frigus quam praesens placere” or “cooler than the present please”.

During the Islamic Golden Age of expansion, 622-750AD, They might argue the temperature was “just right” for them.

In the Medieval Warm Period, from about AD 950 to 1250, when humanity started to thrive, they would probably say the porridge was “just right”.

Right after that, the Vikings in Greenland would probably have asked Onan Odin for some extra warmth.

During the Little ice Age, from 1300-1850 it would seem certain most people would ask for it to be warmer, especially since it had such a well documented negative effect on human history.

As for now for 1850 to present? Well, it just safe to call it the tail end of the Holocene Climatic Optimum although some people think it is too warm and are actively campaigning to reduce Earth’s temperature.

File:Holocene Temperature Variations.png

After thinking about how those previous civilizations in time might perceive their preferred temperature, and thinking about Kurt’s question, I realized that it might very well be an intractable problem, aka the Gordian Knot:

Read more

       

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.

8 Responses to The age old battle of the thermostat – the ‘Goredian’ Knot of global temperature

  1. Ditto says: 1

    Pretty wordy for an noncommittal, evasive reply to the question. If he doesn’t have an answer, there certainly isn’t any reason for him to write about it.

    ReplyReply
  2. JustAl says: 2

    @Ditto:
    Ahem, the point of the article is that it’s a nonsensical question.

    ReplyReply
  3. did anyone said WARMING CLIMATE?
    IT’S ONE FARENHEIT HERE,
    THE FIRST HUMAN DIDN’T NEED CLOTHES,
    THEY CAME WITH HAIRS LOTS OF IT,
    some still do
    I got my fur coat out of the ” boules a mites”, that’s french for mites repellent,
    and hanging here for the winter, now,
    HAPPY NEW YEAR MY FRIENDS

    ReplyReply
  4. ANTHONY WATTS
    would it be right to say the EARTH TEMPERATURE IS NOT OF ONE AND THE SAME
    CONSTANTLY MAINTAINED,
    AM I RIGHT TO THINK THE VOLCANOES DEEP IN THE OCEANS, DEEP IN THE DEBT OF VOLCANOES ABOVE THE EARTH AND OTHER FACTORS ARE PRESENT TO SWAY THE TEMPERATURE,
    CONSTANTLY, NOT COUNTING THE SUN EXPLOSIONS WE HAVE HAD, NOT COUNTING THE WINDS TOWERS GENERATING HEAT ON THE SUB SURFACE OF THE LOCALIZE EARTH, NOT COUNTING THE MILLIONS OF DEAD BIRDS DECAYING ON THE GROUND GENERATING HEAT WHICH RISE UP IN THE ATHMOSPHERE GENERATING TORNEDOS AND HURRICANES MORE NUMEROUS AND MORE FIRES
    IN WOODS, AT A PACES NEVER SEEN BEFORE, NOT COUNTING THE HUNT ON THE BIGGEST MAMMALS OF THE OCEANS, DONE BY MULTI THOUSANDS FOR HIC SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH JAPANESE FLEET,
    LEAVING THE REMNANTS OF WHAT THEY REJECT DIRECTLY ON THE OCEAN WHERE THEY SLAUGHTER YET STILL ALIVE PEACEFULL WHALES,
    THOSE REMNANTS GENERATE HEAT MORE HEAT RISING IN THE ATHMOSPHERE,
    CALLING FOR MORE HURRYCANES AND HOT TORNADO,
    AND MORE OF WHAT IS NOT IN MY MIND RIGHT NOW,
    JUST TO SAY HOW MOTHER NATURE IS BEST TO KNOW IF THE WARMING TREND IS A LAW
    WITHOUT ANY QUESTIONS. SHE FIND A WAY IN ALL THIS TO BALANCE HER BELOVE NATURE FOR US HUMANS, THE GOOD ONES AND THE BAD DESTRUCTIVES ONES

    ReplyReply
  5. Nan G says: 5

    I’m pretty sure the Al Gore’s and George Soros’ of this world would have loved to be the great dictators of earth’s optimal temperature.
    They had a plan to corner the market on carbon which effectively meant they would own all the heating devices, the warm clothes, the cooling devices.
    Then we could all be their slaves.
    Too bad it fell through on them, huh?

    ReplyReply
  6. Nan G
    yes , they where too scary, and greedy, and dishonest, and selfcenter,
    and close minded focussing on only one target

    ReplyReply
  7. Ditto says: 7

    @JustAl:

    While the question was deficient in that it seems to be asking for a specified mean temperature, the essence of it is perfectly valid one to ask in regards to the climate of the planet, and especially as one to ask of those who have gotten all worked up over their quasi-scientific “Chicken Little” rantings.

    Granted, it is completely impossible for the Earth’s climate to ever be a particular optimal temperature for very long due to polar inclination and orbital perturbations which result in seasons, with variations caused by solar activity, tidal actions, volcanic activity and their complex affects on the weather. Noting also temperate zones, the proper wording should ask what the optimal temperature range would be in order for the continuation of life on the planet.

    We know very well that the planet has had both much warmer and cooler periods, some lasting much longer than human recorded history and that life continued to over come these events and flourish. It’s rather arrogant paranoia on the part of climate change fanatics to think that the infinitesimal temperature alterations they propose “have occurred” (via AGW) would spell doom for the planet and it’s lifeforms.

    ReplyReply
  8. A few years ago, I was in MONTREAL, and walking on ST CATHERINE STREET,
    where shops are side by side, some big and other small own by merchants from all foreign COUNTRIES,
    just looking not really needed to buy, and then one merchant come out and throw garbish on the side walk,
    I STOP cold not resist it, and told him if he does it in his country, he said my country in lebanon and we throw all the garbish in the water, even car or what ever is to discard,
    I was speechless, and said if you want to keep your business you better not throw your garbish in front of your store, we don’t do it in CANADA, AND ANYONE CAN CALL THE POLICE TO HAVE YOU IN JAIL,
    HE WENT BACK IN,
    but what he had said stayed with me, and when I hear admonation to us AMERICA FROM THE UN,
    I think they first should focus to educate those countries before having the activists here trying to throw their weight on us, WE are cleaner than all those foreign countries together,
    so to my mind is to them stifu, and get a life and travel abroad to find the trash in the water ways of those dirty human, not smart enough to protecktheir own COUNTRIES,
    WHAT COME TO MIND IS THE TSUMANI IN JAPAN WHICH BROUGHT US IN OUR SHORE ALL KINDS OF HUGE METAL GARBISH DIRECT FROM THEIR COUNTRY, AND THIS IS JUST ONE STORY,

    ReplyReply

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