Episode 51: Climate Change, Part 2

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Greg Christensen, Richelle McCullough, and Donna Harris discuss the science (and politics) of global climate change.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Greenland Ice Sheet May Melt Completely | Hurricane Formation (Principle Layers of the Atmosphere, Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation) | The Year Without a Summer | Solar (Sunspot) Cycle | Global Warming & Climage Change Myths from Skeptical Science

Correction: Greg mentioned that the Year Without a Summer (1816) was precipitated by the eruption of Krakatoa; this “volcanic winter” is actually attributed to a succession of volcanic events culminating in the eruption of Mount Tambora, which began in 1815.

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About Gem Newman

Medical student and former software developer. Host of the Life, the Universe & Everything Else podcast. Past organizer of the Winnipeg Skeptics. Former board chair at Bad Science Watch. Writer of things. Grower of beards. He/him.

3 responses

  1. Greg says:

    Dear Listeners,

    On behalf of the LUEE podcast I would like to sincerely apologize for irresponsibly cramming a generic Star Trek reference in the episode when there was a far more appropriate reference that should have been used.

    In episode “The Inner Light” Captain Picard was accosted by a space probe that took over his consciousness for the duration of the episode. He relived the life and experiences of Kamin, an individual on a planet suffering from catastrophic global warming.

    Here is a full episode synopsis:

    On this particular planet the Sun was rapidly expanding, in the final stages of its life just prior to going nova. In this stage of a star’s life the solar output increases rapidly – thus baking the planet, ultimately evaporating sources of surface water and eventually baking the planet to a crisp.

    The scientists on this planet would have undoubtedly produced a hockey stick graph that was strongly correlated to solar output over the SHORT TERM. (the spans of individual lifetimes). The Republicans and/or Conservative parties also didn’t take Global Warming seriously on this world either. (although it was not anthropomorphic) As stated in the episode our sun (Sol, Sector 001) should produce similar effects in about 5 billion years. It wouldn’t be the Nova that killed the people, they would have died long before this when Solar output rendered surface life untenable. When correlating solar output increases on our own planet you need to go back approximately 500 million years to get appreciable warming. This alarming trend will continue.

    Our own sun will not go Nova, as it does not have sufficient mass. It will however baloon into a Red Giant – producing a similar “Baking effect” prior to expanding out to near the orbit of the earth, destroying the planet entirely.

    Linking back to biology for a moment (another favorite topic of mine), this particular civilization would have evolved rapidly – or perhaps they were transplants that subsequently lost the technological know how required for interstellar travel. Stars that go supernova live comparatively short lives to the stable long lived stars like our sun. Most of these large stars “live fast, die young” and would go nova long before any kind of bipedal sentient life (like us) would naturally evolve. But who can say, the episode didn’t really address any of these issues. And I am referring to the only case of evolution we know of, that which occurred here on Earth.

    In any event, the memory of this civilization lives on in Captain Picard – and of course, the flute he learned to play was left in the probe as a memento of a civilization time may have forgotten.

    I promise a renewed dedication for putting the correct Star Trek reference in the correct place in future episodes and will not let you down like this again.

    Gregory Christensen
    LUEE host.

    • Gem Newman says:

      I’m glad that you learned your lesson, Greg. Now, I will ask you one more time: How many lights do you see?

  2. Thanks for a great podcast with lots of great facts. Though I must correct you on one detail where you simply told something wrong – at least compared to current scientific knowledge, and for not repeating myths; I simply state the fact that: Overall, about 90% of the global warming occurred after the CO2 increase during the transitions between the ice ages: