Must-see video lays out the empirical evidence for human-caused global warming

Our favorite climate de-crocker, Peter Sinclair has a terrific new video on the basic facts of climate science (with links to the literature):

Sinclair makes good use of my video interview with Dr. Christopher Field (for full interview, see “Videos: How we know humans are changing the climate and Why climate change is a clear and present danger“).

In recommending the video, Skeptical Science notes:

A common skeptic argument is that there is no empirical evidence for man-made global warming. People who make this claim can’t have looked very hard. As most don’t have the time to scour through the peer-reviewed scientific literature, the multiple lines of independent evidence for global warming are given here….

Also be sure to check out the (more info) link in the right margin where links to all the peer-reviewed papers are provided. This is a powerfully visual way of communicating the science of climate change — I strongly recommend you all view the video, pass it onto your friends (and if you’re feeling really energetic, follow the paper links to learn more about the science).


Note:  You need to actually watch the video in YouTube to see the small “more info” link off the right-hand corner of the video.

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15 Responses to Must-see video lays out the empirical evidence for human-caused global warming

  1. pete best says:

    Its a left wing article being the UK Guardian but the right look like its time to attempt to reap the benefits of climategate. This video is timely but its just entrenched views. Inhofe is just looking for every angle he can to get the AGW agenda as he sees it off of the map.

  2. Lou Grinzo says:

    I agree on the value of this video. I recommended it on my own site yesterday, and said I thought it was a great piece to forward to all those friends and relatives (and we all have them) who like to say that they can’t believe human beings could change the planet’s climate.

  3. not-a-faux-news-viewer says:

    From the link in #1:

    Michael Mann, a scientist at Penn State University who is on Inhofe’s list of 17, said that he had seen a sharp rise in hostile email since November.

    “Some of the emails make thinly veiled threats of violence against me and even my family, and law enforcement authorities have been made aware of the matter,” he told the Guardian.

    He said the attacks appeared to be a co-ordinated effort. “Some of them look cut-and-paste.”

  4. harrywr2 says:

    The USGS does a study in 2008 evaluating US Coal Reserves(the largest in the world), Existing, Recoverable and Economically Recoverable. And concludes that Recoverable coal reserves in the US are substantially smaller then previously thought. Rather then 200+ years supply we have less then 100 years supply.

    But the IPCC concludes that at current consumption the world has 800 years worth of coal left.

    The BP Energy review shows the world has 122 years of coal left, and that includes the previously overstated US reserves.

    There is a reason the Chinese have embraced nuclear power, there is a reason president Obama embraced nuclear power. The world is going to run out of coal long before that 800 years the IPCC projected. 80 years is probably closer to the truth. The IPCC A1- 50 GigaTon 2030 emissions scenario is improbable at best.

  5. Dean says:

    I think this is a key aspect – for anybody who has an open mind but has been fooled. I continuously hear this claim that the only evidence is the models, or without the Hockey Stick, AGW falls apart. While I don’t want to give support to the falsehoods about the GCMs or climate reconstructions, people need to know that climate science is indeed mature, and that there is, in fact, a vast body of physical and empirical evidence that forms a broad foundation for climate science. In those cases where skeptics do actually find something, or where the IPCC did make a mistake, it’s more like a chip in the corner of a large brick building than a collapsing house of cards.

    With that in mind, can somebody give me the cite for the Nature study referred to in the video that surveys the 29,500 separate sets of physical data, 90% of which are consistent with AGW? I’d even be willing to pay a few bucks to get a copy from behind a subscription wall if it isn’t available online.

  6. Jeff Huggins says:

    Bravo! and a few related thoughts …

    * What a great job! Very helpful.

    * If editing allows, I would add a short point about our ability, via satellite measurements, to detect changes in the mass of ice at the poles.

    * Any piece of communication may work well for some audiences but not quite so well for others. This video, as presently presented, is super for many audiences. Again — bravo! But, in my experience, for many audiences it will still be a bit too technical in terms of its use of some terms and its assumptions about what people will be able to understand and be willing to internalize. For some people, it won’t be simple enough. But, it’s very much on the right track.

    So, for example, it can be “brought closer” for some audiences via the simple addition of some quick comments or illustrations. Many people won’t know about what “radiation” is being discussed. So, the narrator could let the audience know that the sort of radiation is in the range that you can see if you have those IR goggles or cameras, like in the movies. CO2 absorbs that sort of radiation. Make it real and put it in terms that anyone — even a young child — can connect with. The structure and basic points of the piece are there, and great, and should work well for many audiences, but if the producer/writer/narrator would follow the path a bit further, in the direction of simplicity and common language, you’d end up with a version that would be great for even much broader audiences.

    Also, along the same lines, explain — in simple terms — how CO2’s absorption of radiated energy increases temperature. Molecules move faster and bump into each other more. Give a simple explanation of what temperature IS, and close the gap between molecules of CO2 absorbing radiation and the temperature of the atmosphere going up in the immediate vicinity.

    * I’d also re-emphasize a point made once but that could and should be repeated. Given what we understand scientifically, we should EXPECT the atmosphere to warm as the concentrations of greenhouse gases increase. That’s what we should EXPECT, unless someone can identify an additional factor that would actually cause this NOT to be the case. I think that the vast majority of people do not comprehend this point, and it’s a paradigm shifter. Given what we understand scientifically, we shouldn’t be surprised that global warming is happening. Instead, we should be surprised if it wasn’t happening. That point should be made, and re-made, and re-made. Remember: tell the audience what you’re going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you told them.

    Finally, if this sort of thing, combined with the long lists of all the scientific organizations that say that global warming is very real and problematic, isn’t enough to convince people who don’t want to deal with the problem — and of course it won’t be enough to convince people who simply don’t want to face facts — then it will be all that much clearer that other approaches are also necessary. By that, I mean (once again) appropriate boycotts and so forth.

    Great video. Bravo.


  7. 8:45
    “with more moisture in the atmosphere due to warming, precipitation events are getting more extreme”

    Could anybody please provide references for “more moisture in the atmosphere” and “precipitation events are getting more extreme”?

    [JR: More moisture here. More extreme here.]

  8. Michael T says:

    #6 Dean

    Click on the video so it opens in a new window (YouTube site), and click on the “more info” link. There you’ll find all the links including the 29,000 data sets.

  9. thank you Joe. The “more extreme” link only talks about “the contiguous United States”. The video says “both in Northern and Tropical areas”. What articles are available about those?

    Also Trenberth in the “more moisture” link mentions “there’s about, on average, 4 percent more water vapor lurking around over the oceans than there was, say, in the 1970s”. To which scientific article(s) is he referring to?

    [JR: I suggest you click on the links in the video. You should also be able to find the relevant e-mails of people like Trenberth online.]

  10. Jonathan says:

    To make it easy to remember and pass on I’ve linked to the video from

    As the video makes clear, there is rarely a “smoking gun” in science, but I reckon that URL works as a headline or teaser.

  11. No link in the YouTube page of the video appears to refer to “precipitation events are getting more extreme” and with >1,200 comments I won’t even try to look among those. Oh well. I’ll see if I find anything myself on both topics, eg by writing to Trenberth, but if anybody here can help I’ll be grateful. thanks Joe in any case.

  12. Richard Brenne says:

    Peter –

    This is great like all your videos, and probably the best single and most comprehensive video of them all.

    I do think Susan Joy Hassol’s points in her post “Impacts of a Warming Arctic” six posts below is great and should become the New York Times – well, okay the AP – style-book for how we communicate climate change.

    Say everything you’re saying but whenever simpler language that Susan suggests is possible I think it would be good to use. (And for the record, Peter, I believe you’re not only the writer/producer/narrator but also everything else from the director to best boy, right?)

    There’s a couple of additional concepts, and to me the most important one is that, unfortunately and tragically when it comes to climate change, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Just a sentence could be added to this video like, “All these observations come with just a 1.5 degree Fahrenheit increase in average global temperatures over the last century (Gerald Meehl’s figure – I’d like to get us all on the same page on this figure), and over the next century all indications are that this figure will at least be doubled to a 3 degree increase, but could be a catastrophic 10 degree increase or more if we do nothing to address it.”

    In addition to all the scientific evidence you describe, I would also encourage people to take as thorough a look at as much of the anecdotal evidence in their own lives as possible. Do you remember rivers and lakes freezing over decades ago that don’t freeze over nearly as often in most recent years? Are you an ice fisher, or natural ice skater, an ice climber, glacier climber, gardener, farmer, bird or wildlife watcher? If you’ve observed any of these things for a long time, ideally keeping a journal with meticulous dates – or you know people who have done that – what has been observed?

    What has been observed in your home town’s history of weather records? Here in Portland, Oregon from 1874 through 1903 we had 1 year with triple digits temperatures but 8 years with single digits temperatures.

    Conversely in the last 30 years we had 17 years with triple digit temperatures but only 1 with single digit temperatures.

    Anecdotal information to me is extremely important when used intelligently, thoroughly, without cherry-picking and in conjunction with the far more dependable scientific studies. Before the landmark 1964 Surgeon General’s report linking smoking to cancer, objective and observant people called cigarettes “cancer sticks” because they saw the link themselves before it was proven in the science.

    One of my primary efforts is to show the evidence of climate change in people’s lives and what they care about, for instance in the past, present and future of Olympic sports I post about two postings below, and also on February 14 (there’s a link to that in today’s post). And thanks Joe for posting that, and for posting each of Peter’s videos as they come out – an archive of Peter’s videos would also be great.

  13. David B. Benson says:

    In addition, a simple computer program uses the Arrhenius formula for the forcing due to CO2 for one decade to estimate the global temperatures of the following decade; based on the well understood physics, but simplified. I previously posted the entire series, so this time I’ll post just the last 50 years and the prediction for the 2010s. GTA is the decadal averages of the GISTEMP global temperature anomaly product, AE is the Arrhenius estimate and the residuals are the differences.
    decade GTA AE residual
    1960s -0.01 -0.00 -0.01
    1970s -0.00 +0.07 -0.07
    1980s +0.18 +0.18 -0.01
    1990s +0.31 +0.33 -0.02
    2000s +0.51 +0.47 +0.04
    2010s ??.?? +0.64

  14. Tracy Elsen says:

    Thank you for posting this– in the struggle to communicate climate change, Peter Sinclair’s videos provide an extremely valuable, visual resource that manage to place so much complex information into a compelling narrative. The Climate Institute has also posted this video on our site and encouraged our friends and followers to pass it along as well.