The Instigator
Stupidape
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
epidexipteryx
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Mid-century cooling was primarily anthropogenic

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/24/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 359 times Debate No: 94950
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (0)

 

Stupidape

Pro

One of my first global climate change debates my opponent brought up the mid-century cooling trend. Stating that a lot of oil was burned during that time period and that since there was cooling in that time period fossil fuels don't generate Co2. The time period was 1945-1975.

I knew there was something wrong with the logic, but I couldn't tell what. Anyways, here's the answer. Sulfur emissions




0. http://www.skepticalscience.com...

epidexipteryx

Con

I don't know much about sulfur or aerosols or either of their effects on the environment and I don't intend to do much research so forgive me if this is more of a learning experience then debate.

Just to explain, the mid century cooling period Stupidape and I are referring to is a time period from 1940-1975 where temperatures fell despite increased emissions of Co2 due to a major global economic boom after world war 2.
Mid century cooling: http://www.ofcomswindlecomplaint.net...
Co2 emmisions: http://a-sceptical-mind.com...

For my argument (that I posted in the comments):
NASA says that sulfate aerosols only cause regional cooling. I quote, "...the cooling effect of pollution aerosols will be somewhat regionally dependent, near and downwind of industrial areas."
https://www.nasa.gov...
This means that global cooling could not have been caused by sulfur emissions because sulfur caused cooling is only regional
.
More evidence would be that the northern hemisphere, which was generally more industrialized then the southern hemisphere, would cool faster if the cooling was due to sulfur emissions. By looking at the temperature trends of the northern and southern hemispheres, we can see that this is not the case.
Temp trends: http://www.giss.nasa.gov...

Overall, sulfur could not be responsible for the cooling mid century because sulfur only causes regional cooling and the area that we would expect to cool faster did not.
Debate Round No. 1
Stupidape

Pro

My quotes of sources in italics, opponent's arguments in bold and italics, and my arguments in plain text.



"Hansen and others show that sulfate aerosols can significantly cool the climate, raising confidence in models showing future greenhouse warming. " [1]


"The net effect of aerosols is to cool the climate system by reflecting sunlight. " [2]


Above is additional evidence that sulfate aerosols caused global cooling.


My opponent has made a major contradiction of his/her own statements.


"NASA says that sulfate aerosols only cause regional cooling. I quote, "...the cooling effect of pollution aerosols will be somewhat regionally dependent, near and downwind of industrial areas."
https://www.nasa.gov......
This means that global cooling could not have been caused by sulfur emissions because sulfur caused cooling is only regional" epidexipteryx


Somewhat regionally dependent doesn't not equal regionally dependent.


"More evidence would be that the northern hemisphere, which was generally more industrialized then the southern hemisphere, would cool faster if the cooling was due to sulfur emissions. By looking at the temperature trends of the northern and southern hemispheres, we can see that this is not the case." epidexipteryx


There was also increased industrial activity in the northern hemisphere that could have heated the northern hemisphere unevenly. Also, the word "downwind" is in your quote, perhaps the southern hemisphere was downwind from the northern hemisphere.


"Overall, sulfur could not be responsible for the cooling mid century because sulfur only causes regional cooling and the area that we would expect to cool faster did not." epidexipteryx


Somewhat regional cooling, as opposed to only causing regional cooling. One more note your, last source is a graph with tempatures. Yet, this graph does not tell us where the tempature is being measured. For example is the upper atomsphere, lower atomsphere, land, ocean surface, deep ocean, or a mean of all these. Without knowing where the tempature is being measured I can only assume that you cherry picked the data. [3] Please use scholarly peer reviewed sources to make sure your data is credible, accurate, and impacts the resolution.

Btw I couldn't get the http://a-sceptical-mind.com... link to load.


I have used a peer reviewed source that is in contradiction of your statements. When the debaters cannot agree on the facts, the side with the more credible sources win. Voters give me the source points at the very least. Thanks for debating.


Sources.
1. http://www.livescience.com...
2. http://www.nature.com...
3. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com...
epidexipteryx

Con

My opponent is correct in saying somewhat regionally dependent is not regionally dependent. This does not matter though because the sulfur only caused slight cooling where it is located so if the wind where to blow the sulfur away from industrial areas it would only cause cooling where the sulfur is currently located. This would cause only parts of the world to cool slightly but would not cause a major global cooling.

My opponent then says that the southern hemisphere may be downwind of the northern hemisphere but this is speculation and in the link I provided, NASA gave the example of regional cooling as measuring a smokestack from a ship. The most significant cooling was at the smokestack and then as the sulfur aerosols were blown away the cooling became less significant.

My opponent then attacks my last graph saying it is not from a peer reviewed article. While it is not from an article, it is from NASA which is peer reviewed.

To answer my opponents question, according to Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the graph shows the annual mean surface temperature data from the northern and southern hemispheres.

My opponent says, " When the debaters cannot agree on the facts, the side with the more credible sources win" yet this is just untrue. If two debaters disagree on facts the side with the better argument wins, whether the other side has been convinced or not. The sources only matter if one side is using false information or sketchy websites that may have incorrect data. If you cant prove that the sources data is incorrect or manipulated then sources should have very little effect on the argument.

Overall, I have shown that sulfate aerosols cannot be responsible for a global cooling event. I have described how the sulfate aerosols have a larger effect in the area they were released and how the data from the northern and southern hemispheres do not support the idea of sulfur caused warming. While my opponent uses no evidence to rebut my claims and resorts to attacking sources, I have shown beyond a doubt that sulfur caused cooling is not global and therefore did not cause the mid century cooling period.
Debate Round No. 2
Stupidape

Pro

"To answer my opponents question, according to Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, the graph shows the annual mean surface temperature data from the northern and southern hemispheres." epidexipteryx


The above is the weak point in my opponent's argument. My opponent has not shown that surface tempatures are a reliable way to determine global cooling. Therefore, my opponent's argument can be dismissed as a red herring and as a cherry picking fallacy.


Considering that my peer reviewed article contradicts my opponent's premise while proving my own I have met my burden of proof and should win the debate. I recommend that my opponent stick to peer reviewed journals. My opponent has taken a graph and put his/her own interpretation on the graph.

Thanks for debating.

epidexipteryx

Con

My opponent says, " My opponent has not shown that surface tempatures are a reliable way to determine global cooling" so I will do so now. Surface temperatures would be a good way to determine global cooling because:
1. The whole globe is cooling (definition of global: of or relating to the whole world; worldwide) The surface is part of the whole world so you would expect it to cool
2. The way sulfur causes cooling is by altering the albedo (reflectivity) of a planet. This means that the sunlight is reflected back into space preventing it from reaching the surface and warming it. In fact, you would expect to see the most cooling at the surface of the planet.
How sulfur causes cooling: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov...

Now I have proven that sulfur caused cooling would be severe on the surface. This goes back to my graph showing how the northern hemisphere warmed slower then the southern (on the surface) indicating a non-sulfur caused cooling effect for the northern hemisphere is more industrialized and if sulfur caused cooling is regional you would expect the most cooling there.
Sulfur cooling is regional: https://www.nasa.gov...

My opponent, yet again, resorts to attacking sources to try and win the debate. They point out that they have used peer reviewed articles that contradict my arguments and that I have not. The problems with this are:
1. My opponents articles don't contradict my arguments. The only article that is relevant to atmospheric aerosols is this:
http://www.nature.com...
and it doesn't even address one of my claims nor does it even explain how the mid century cooling period was due to aerosols.
2. All of my sulfate aerosol related links are from NASA which is peer reviewed and trustworthy so my opponents claims of me using untrustworthy sources is false

In conclusion, my opponent has given up this debate for he resorts to calling my data cherry picking instead of disclaiming it (even though it is not cherry picking as I explained above you would expect the surface to cool from sulfate aerosols). My opponent has run out of arguments and again tries to attack my sources instead of properly debating my claims. My opponent has not proven anything because I have disproven all of their claims while all of mine go untouched. While this debate was fun, I expected more from my opponent and was disappointed by their "arguments".

Thank you for reading
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: distraff// Mod action: Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Pro started the debate strong but was unable to respond to Pro's arguments and then just attacked pro's sources. Con defended them and pro never refuted that.

[*Reason for removal*] Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both sides. Merely stating that one side was not responsive to the other is not sufficient.
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Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: rammer5678// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Conduct, S&G, Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: The reasons why Con deserves the points for conduct and more convincing arguments are as follows: Conduct: Throughout the debate Pro kept referring to their peer reviewed articles, trying to through doubt onto Cons sources instead of focusing on the argument. What is funny about this though, is that Cons sources mostly stemmed from NASA which could be considered more trustworthy than a random article found online. This is not good conduct because it is trying to distract the voters and Con from the debate at hand. Arguments: At first, Pro gave a very good argument to why sulfur emissions caused the global cooling but once Con made their statement Pros argument broke done. Pro not longer had anything to debate with so they tried to make Cons sources seem untrustworthy. Due to the fact that Pro had no arguments to refute Cons claims, and, instead of arguing, tried to distract voters, Con gets the point for arguments and conduct.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) Conduct is insufficiently explained. Distracting from issues that the voter perceives as central to the debate is never sufficient reason for awarding conduct. This is only applicable to the success of each sides' arguments. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both sides. In this case, the voter only assesses the unsuccessful nature of Pro's general rebuttals and points to what they considered to be a good argument that they say was rebutted. It's never clear what that rebuttal was, or why Con's arguments were successful in this debate, excepting that they had what the voter perceived as a good source and focused on arguments.
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Posted by whiteflame 5 months ago
whiteflame
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>Reported vote: rammer5678// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Conduct, S&G, Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Con disproved everything Pro said and Pro gave no reasons to why they were right. Con used sources from NASA to back up their claims which are arguably more trustworthy than random experiments.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct or S&G. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both sides in the debate use those assessments to determine an outcome. Simply stating that one side disproved the other is not sufficient, nor is pointing to the importance of a specific source.
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Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
Sorry about the misinformation before, I hadn't done enough research on sulfurate aerosols but I am back to disprove sulfur caused cooling in the 1900s!

In this article from NASA,
https://www.nasa.gov...
it states, "...the cooling effect of pollution aerosols will be somewhat regionally dependent, near and downwind of industrial areas."

This means that, yes, while global sulfur levels did increase, this would only cause cooling in the areas in which they increased, not globally. This is the opposite of what we observe, we observe a global decrease in temperature for 35 years, not regional.

More evidence to suggest that the cooling was not due to aerosols is when you look at the northern and Southern Hemisphere temperature data. Because sulfurate aerosol cooling is regional, you would expect the northern hemisphere to cool faster then the south because the northern hemisphere is generally more industrialized. As you can see from this graph,
http://www.giss.nasa.gov...
this is not what we observe.

Overall, the mid century decrease in temperature can't be caused by sulfur because it was a global cooling and the individual hemispheres did not cool as they would if the cooling was caused by sulfur.
Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
What I said is untrue, sulfur does cause cooling lower then the stratosphere. Sorry!
Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
Keep in mind that I don't know much about sulfur and how it acts in the atmosphere, what I posted is what I interpreted from the websites I read but no website I found openly stated that sulfur did not cause cooling below the stratosphere.
Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
I did some more research though and it seems that sulfur only has a significant cooling trend if it is greater then 10 km in the stratosphere. This explains how man made sulfur could not have caused cooling because they would be in the troposphere.
For example, skeptical science says, "...led to a rise in aerosols in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere)"
while the volcano hazards program in the USGS says, "SO2 can be injected to altitudes of greater then 10 km into the stratosphere. Here, SO2 is converted to sulfate aerosols which reflect sunlight and therefor have a cooling effect."

In conclusion, sulfur is only converted to a sulfate aerosol when it is 10km or higher in the atmosphere which shows how the mid century cooling could not have been due to man made sulfur.
Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
After doing some research it seems that this is true, sulfur emissions cause cooling and sulfur emissions were higher in the 1940s-1970s then ever before. Although this is only a correlation, there is no contrary evidence I could find. Although this does not explain the recent lack of warming in the atmosphere, the cooling in the 1940s-1970s was due to sulfur emissions.

Although many other questions still remain unanswered by stupidape, you have beaten me in this argument.
Posted by epidexipteryx 6 months ago
epidexipteryx
Why was there enoug sulfur to cause cooling in the 1940s to 1970s yet not before then or after then. For example, in the 1920s, before much Co2 was being released, why didn't suffer cause cooling.
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