The Parrot and the Igloo Notes
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The Soda Machine

63   burned through the 1800s: Although a study published by Nature in 2016 suggests human-caused warming began decades earlier, in the nineteenth century’s first half.

Chelsea Harvey, “Human-Caused Climate Change Has Been Happening For A Lot Longer Than We Thought, Scientists Say,” The Washington Post, August 24, 2016.

 

Using paleoclimate records from the past 500 years, the researchers show that sustained warming began to occur in both the tropical oceans and the Northern Hemisphere land masses as far back as the 1830s — and they’re saying industrial-era greenhouse gas emissions were the cause, even back then.

 

See also Nerilie J. Abram et al., “Early Onset of Industrial-Era Warming Across the Oceans And Continents,” Nature, August 24, 2016.

 

63   “the Paul Revere of Global Warming”: For example, Bill McKibben, “The Climate Fighters,” Rolling Stone, April 25, 2013. Or Dana Milbank, “Burned Up About the Other Fossil Fuel,” The Washington Post, June 24, 2008. Or Bruce E. Johnson, “The Paul Revere of Global Warming,” The Progressive, August 2006.

 

63   the heating’s start: Walter Sullivan, “Study Finds Warming Trend That Could Raise Sea Levels,” The New York Times, August 22, 1981.

 

A team of Federal scientists says it has detected an overall warming trend in the earth’s atmosphere extending back to the year 1880. They regard this as evidence of the validity of the ‘‘greenhouse’’ effect, in which increasing amounts of carbon dioxide cause steady temperature increases. The seven atmospheric scientists predict a global warming of ‘‘almost unprecedented magnitude’’ in the next century.

Flip back a few notes; you’ll see this same Walter Sullivan writing the Venus “ghastly planet” stories. So maybe the journalist also got subtly radicalized by Venus. 

See also, NASA, “2018 Fourth Warmest Year In Continued Warming Trend, According to NASA, NOAA,” Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet, February 6, 2019.

The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record. “2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend,” said Goddard Institute of Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt.

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius). This warming has been driven in large part by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases caused by human activities, according to Schmidt.

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2841/2018-fourth-warmest-year-in-continued-warming-trend-according-to-nasa-noaa/ 

Accessed 8-28-22.

 

63   cities as climatically distant: The New York Times, “World Is Hotter, Scientist Reports: Temperature Constantly On the Rise Since Turn of the Century, J.C. Kincer Finds,” November 5, 1939.

 

64   In 1975, the Times: Walter Sullivan, “Scientists Ask Why World Climate Is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead,” The New York Times, May 21, 1975.

 

64   ran in the twenties: The New York Times, “Lay Long Hot Spell to Sun’s Coolness,” June 11, 1922. “The unprecedented hot spell, now 22 months old…”

 

64   “a few million years”: The Washington Post, “Second World Flood Seen, If Earth’s Heat Increases,” May 3, 1932.

 

64   “America in Longest Warm Spell”: The New York Times, “America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise,” March 27, 1933.

       And at the page one right column: Franklin Delano Roosevelt abolishing the Farm Bureau. One of his first big Depression-fighter acts. The new President had been in office three weeks; Roosevelt’s was the last of the March inaugurals. (For Jeopardy! fans: Passed that year, the 20th Amendment relocated the ceremonies to January. Which is when FDR’s second inaugural, and all those after, was convened.)

 

64   But 1934: Ellen Gray, “NASA Study Finds 1934 Had Worst Drought of Last Thousand Years,” NASA, Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet, October 15, 2014. The drought extended across 71.6 percent of western North America.

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2175/nasa-study-finds-1934-had-worst-drought-of-last-thousand-years/

Accessed 8-28-22.

 

64   counties in drought: Ralph Chite, Environment and National Resources Policy Division, “Agriculture, Drought, and the Federal Response,” Congressional Research Service, Issue Brief, May 16, 1989.

Included in Review of the Effects of Disaster Conditions On Wheat, Soybeans, and Feed Conditions, United States Congress, House Committee on Agriculture, Government Printing Office 1990, 311.

 

64   with 1936 close: Weiner, The Next One Hundred Years, 272.

The year 1936 saw, per NOAA, America’s warmest summer in recorded history. The below features an interesting top-five list.

Jonathan Erdman, “Despite Record Heat Waves, This Likely Won’t Be America’s Hottest Summer,” July 22, 2021.

https://weather.com/news/climate/news/2021-07-22-americas-hottest-summer-2021/

Accessed 8-28-22.

From warmest down. 1936, 2012, 2011, 2020, 1934. July 2021, however—also per NOAA—was the planet’s hottest-ever recorded month.

News, “It’s Official: July Was Earth’s Hottest Month On Record,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, August 13, 2021.

https://noaa.gov/news/its-official-july-2021-was-earths-hottest-month-on-record/

Accessed 8-28-22.

 

64   the birth of the air conditioner: H.G. Moulton, “Air Cooling Opens New Era in Business and Domestic Life of Nation,” The Washington Post, August 27, 1933.

 

64   That red line: As America began to grapple with climate, eyes turned nervously backward. 1934–1938 was, as of 1981, “the warmest period in the Northern Hemisphere in this century.”

Robert Reinhold, “Evidence Is Found Of Warming Trend,” The New York Times, October 19, 1981.

 

64   its own “Experts Puzzle” story: Chicago Daily Tribune, “It’s Getting Warmer,” November 6, 1939.

 

64   “worldwide in scope”: The New York Times, “World Is Hotter, Scientist Reports: Temperature Constantly On the Rise Since Turn of the Century, J.C. Kincer Finds,” November 5, 1939.

 

64   “The reason for such”: Time, “Warmer World,” January 2, 1939. “Weather men have no doubt,” reports Time, “that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer.”

They fix the start at about the same time the 2016 Nature study does. “In 1932 the U. S. Weather Bureau assembled all available records covering a century or more, found that they showed a trend towards warmth.”

 

65   lard and meat: Louis Banks, “CO2 To Chemists, ‘Dry Ice’ To You,” The Los Angeles Times, July 18, 1937.

A disquieting sentence to read, at the edge of the Second World War. “One of Chicago’s packing-houses tried the successful experiment of putting the animals in rooms filled with carbon dioxide, where they quietly slumbered off and were butchered without any pain or fright.”

 

65   “‘soda water’ plant”: The Washington Post, “Milestones of Science,” March 20, 1938.

 

65   G. S. Callendar understood: James Rodger Fleming, author of the tart and comprehensive Historical Perspectives on Climate Change, is Callendar’s biographer. Here’s his basic summary:

 

G. S. Callendar, working largely alone and from home, established the carbon dioxide theory of climate change in its essentially modern form. He studied climate change, including global temperature trends, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, and the infrared absorption and emission spectra of trace gases. He also investigated the carbon cycle, including natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks, and the role of glaciers in the Earth’s heat budget—all in an era before computer climate modeling. The data he collected on temperature records and trends worldwide filled dozens of his research notebooks; the notable series of articles on climate change he published between 1938 and 1964 were the result of his extensive calculations, laboratory measurements, literature searches, and professional correspondence.

Today the “Callendar Effect” refers to his theory that global climate change can be attributed to an enhanced greenhouse effect due to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuel.

 

James Rodger Fleming, The Callendar Effect: The Life and Work of Guy Stewart Callendar, the Scientist Who Established the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change, American Meteorological Society 2007. Chapter Five, “Global Warming and Anthropogenic CO2,” 65-6.

 

65   underdog and overlooked: Fleming, 2007:

 

Until recently, G. S. Callendar had been largely overlooked by historians and scientists. He was a quiet, family oriented man, an avid sportsman, supremely competent, widely published and cited, yet unassuming. He received few special honors, held no academic appointments, and left relatively few letters and no personal journals. His scientific papers, although considered valuable, were in danger of being scattered, damaged, and lost. No one in the climate research community had any photographs of the man or his family.

 

Fleming adds, “Under these circumstances, preparing his biography and a digital archive of his papers were daunting tasks.”

Fleming, The Callendar Effect, Introduction, xiv.

 

65   into climate science as a weekender: Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, 2.

 

65   tradition of unlikely hobbies: It helped preserve the idea. “Callendar had become interested in Arrhenius’s carbon dioxide theory of climate change” during a period when it “lay largely dormant.”

Mike Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change: Understanding Controversy, Inaction and Opportunity, Cambridge University Press, 2009. Chapter Two, “The Discovery of Climate Change,” 49.

 

65   steam engineer with the electric industry: In his big study, “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Climate,” Callendar gives his position as “Steam Technologist to the British Electrical and Allied Industries Research Association.” Which has an oddly modern artisanal touch.

G. S. Callendar, “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Climate.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 64, April 1938.

 

65   a coal man: An “English coal engineer,” writes Gale Christianson. In Greenhouse: The 200 Year Story of Global Warming, Penguin, 2000, Chapter 11, “Threshold,” 141.

Guy Stewart Callendar’s father, Hugh Longbourne Callendar, was a professor at the Royal College of Science. Per James Fleming, the young Callendar “assisted his father’s experiments with steam at high temperatures and pressures at the Royal College” and even “lectured on the subject following his father’s [1930] death.”

(Professor Hugh Callendar’s name is followed with F.R.S.; “Fellow of the Royal Society,” a U.K. honorific. Elsewhere Fleming observes the elder Callendar was famous as a physicist. This is the benign version of Alfred Nobel following in his father’s explosive footsteps.)

Fleming, Historical Perspectives, Chapter Nine, “Global Warming? The Early Twentieth Century,” 114.

In Perspectives, Fleming kicks off this chapter with a Callendar epigraph. The year is 1939.

 

As man is now changing the composition of the atmosphere at a rate which must be very exceptional on the geological time scale, it is natural to seek for the probable effects of such a change. From the best laboratory observations it appears that the principal result of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide ... would be a gradual increase in the mean temperature of the colder regions of the earth.

 

65   how-much list: Christianson, Greenhouse, Chapter 11, “Threshold,” 141.

“Utilizing data collected from 200 weather stations around the world between 1880 and 1934, Callendar determined that Earth’s temperature had been on the rise during the previous fifty years.”

 

65   “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide”: G. S. Callendar, “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Climate,” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 64, April 1938.

 

65   The Royal Meteorological Society: Spencer Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, Harvard University Press, 2003. Chapter One, “How Could Climate Change?”, 2, 19.

See also Mike Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, 50.  For calendar fans: February 16, 1938, a Wednesday.

 

65   150 billion tons: Fleming, The Callendar Effect. Chapter Five, “Global Warming and Anthropogenic CO2,” 71.

G. S. Callendar, “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Climate.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 64, April 1938.

Christianson, Greenhouse, 141.

 

65   “throwing some 9,000 tons”: G. Thomas Farmer, John Cook, Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis, Springer 2013. Chapter Three, “The Scientific Method and Its Use,” 70.

“Callendar established what would become the standard number of 290 parts per million as the nineteenth-century background concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and documented an increase of 10% in this figure between 1900 and 1935, which closely matched the amount of fuel burned.”

G.S. Callendar, “The Composition of the Atmosphere through the Ages,” The Meteorological Magazine 74, March 1939. A piece—Fleming notes—Callendar was invited to compose at the behest of the Air Ministry. (The Met being the Ministry organ.)

 

65   2.57 million pounds: Doyle Rice, “Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reach Record High,” USA Today, November 13, 2017.

“On average, about 2.57 million pounds of carbon dioxide is emitted into the air every second.” So per minute, about 77,100 tons.

 

65   “would be prepared to admit”: G. S. Callendar, “The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Climate.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 64, April 1938.

 

65   “condescending.”: Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, 19.

 

65   “Poor Callendar”: Jonathan Weiner, The Next One Hundred Years, Bantam Books 1990. Chapter Five, “A Slow Eureka,” 73.

 

66   “excited widespread indifference”: Wallace Broecker, Robert Kunzig, Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat—And How to Counter It, Hill and Wang, 2008. Chapter Five, “Carbon Dioxide and the Keeling Curve,” 70.

 

66      out of court: Mike Hulme, in Why We Disagree About Climate Change, describes Callendar’s audience as “skeptical. Sir George Simpson, then director of the British Meteorological Office, thought that ‘his results must be taken as rather a coincidence.’” Hulme, Why We Disagree, 50.

 

66      The American biologist Alfred Lotka: Alfred J. Lotka, Elements of Physical Biology, Williams & Wilkins, 1924. 224–5.

Quoted in White House Science Advisor John P. Holdren’s “Climate Science and Public Policy From (pre) 1965 to (post) 2015”; and Spencer Weart, “The Discovery of the Risk of Global Warming,” Physics Today, January 1997.

John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President of the United State, “Climate Science and Public Policy From (pre) 1965 to (post) 2015,” Symposium on “Climate Science: 50 Years Later,” American Association for the Advancement of Science–American Meteorological Society–Carnegie ScienceLinden Trust, Washington DC, October 29, 2015.

A very long title for a fascinating timeline—and just the base-level interest of how the issue //would look// looks to somebody inside the //big meeting//. //Holdren was WH Science Advisor//  White House meeting. Holdren was a member of what journalists called President Obama’s Climate Dream Team.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/2015-10-29_aaas-carnegie_50th_anniv.pdf

Accessed 9-2-22.

 

66      carbon dioxide filtered by the oceans: Spencer Weart, “The Discovery of the Risk of Global Warming,” Physics Today, January 1997.

 

One argument noted that the oceans contain 50 times as much carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. It seemed logical to conclude that, as a classic monograph by Alfred Lotka announced in 1924, “The sea acts as a vast equalizer,” taking up 95% of all the carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere, so that fluctuations are ‘ironed out and moderated.’

 

66      “a theory more peculiar and unattractive”: Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming, Harvard University Press 2003, 19.

 

66      “marked increase commenced”: G.S. Callendar, “The Composition of the Atmosphere through the Ages,” The Meteorological Magazine 74, March 1939.

 

66      between 1934 and 1938: Callendar, “The Composition of the Atmosphere through the Ages,” Met. Mag.

 

66      employ of the British government: Fleming, The Callendar Effect, Chapter Four, “Defense Work,” 49.

 

66      “an extra bogey”: John Chamberlin, “Books of the Times,The New York Times, January 24, 1942.

 

66      Callendar kept the science: Gale Christianson notes his 1938 paper was “the first article on the greenhouse effect in decades.”

Christianson, Greenhouse, 141.

 

66      picked up and carried: Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, Merchants of Doubt, Chapter Six, “The Denial of Global Warming,” 170.

Climate scientist Mike Hulme: “Callendar died in 1964, long before his 1938 ideas became common scientific currency. It was another twenty-two years after his death before the first truly global — land and marine — temperature series was published, and another forty-three years before the IPCC announced what Callendar had argued in 1938: that the rise in world temperature was very likely to be a result of the rise in carbon dioxide.”

Hulme, Why We Disagree About Climate Change, 53.

 

66      Roger Revelle read: And his colleague, Charles Keeling (whom we’re scheduled to meet in three chapters), reached out to the British hobbyist by mail. Keeling’s famous curve is among the most recognizable climate change visuals; it can be seen as a continuation of Callendar’s work.

Christianson, Greenhouse, 154, 167-8.

Fleming, The Callendar Effect, Chapter Six, “Callendar’s Legacy,” 94.

In 2005 Keeling recalled his correspondence with Callendar in the 1950s: “He was a careful investigator and a major contributor to keeping alive interest in the CO2 Greenhouse Effect during decades when it had almost been forgotten by the science community.”

Fleming, Historical Perspectives, 95

In the Fifties, “Gilbert Plass and Charles Keeling consulted with Callendar before beginning their research programs.” Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change, 118.

 

66      the Callendar Effect: Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change, 118, 125.

Roger Revelle, Hans E. Suess, “Carbon Dioxide Exchange between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2 During the Past Decades,” Tellus 9, 1957.

 

66      “was the first to discover that the planet had warmed”: Zoe Applegate, “Guy Stewart Callendar: Global warming discovery marked,” BBC, April 26, 2013.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-22283372

Accessed 8-31-22.

The scientist is Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, whose unhappy story we’ll hear near the end of this book.

Dr. Jones calls the Callendar work, “groundbreaking . . . he is still relatively unknown as a scientist but his contribution was fundamental to climate science today.”

 

67      “Real data is messy”: Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, Faber and Faber 1993.

 

67      Decembers had become easier: The New York Times, “Is The Climate Changing?”, July 22, 1951; Leonard Engel, “The Weather Is Really Changing,” The New York Times, July 12, 1953. Waldemar Kaempffert, “Oldtimers May Be Right When They Tell Us That the Climate Is Getting Warmer,” The New York Times, November 30, 1952;

Time, “Warmer Future,” July 26, 1954; Time, “Getting Warmer,” May 15, 1950; Time, “Retreat of the Cold,” October 29, 1951.

The executive secretary of the Master Furriers Guild noted it had become difficult to sell full-length coats. Instead, warmer-weather accessories like stoles, short jackets; they were even adding fur to sweaters and bow-ties. “We’re putting fur on everything except fur.”

Time, “Change in the Weather,” November 30, 1953.

 

67      In the northern cities: Waldemar Kaempffert, “Oldtimers May Be Right When They Tell Us That the Climate Is Getting Warmer,” The New York Times, November 30, 1952.

 

67      island of Spitsbergen: Leonard Engel, “The Weather Is Really Changing,” The New York Times, July 12, 1953.

 

Summers have become warmer, but the most striking changes have been in winters. Fifty years ago, a horse and carriage could be driven for several weeks each winter across the Hudson River between Nyack and Tarrytown; iceboating was a favorite sport. The last of the iceboating clubs there is long since gone. In the Alps, in Greenland, in Alaska, winters are no longer long or severe enough to make up for summer melting of the glaciers, and nearly all the great ice sheets are in retreat.

 

67      Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical body: Gladwin Hill, “Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says,” The New York Times, May 30, 1947.

 

67      Warm-weather animals: The New York Times, “Is Climate Changing?”, October 15, 1950.” The world’s glaciers also seem to support the warming-up theory. Wherever they have been studied it has been found that they have been receding since 1850, with an increase in the rate since 1920.”

And “what of the northward movement of the cardinal, opossum, and other species of mammals and birds?” the piece asks. “Only a change in climate can account for it.”

 

67      “common bird”: S. L. Halkin, and S. U. Linville. 1999. Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). In: A. Poole, F. Gill, Eds, The Birds of North America, No. 440. The Birds of North America, Inc. 1999.

Terry Devitt, “Climate Change Alters Cast Of Winter Birds,” University of Madison-Wisconsin, October 16, 2014. As one Wisconsin forestry professor explains, “Fifty years ago, cardinals were rare in the Northeastern United States.”

https://news.wisc.edu/climate-change-alters-cast-of-winter-birds/

Accessed 9-2-22.

 

67      Birds of southern Europe: The New York Times, “Is Climate Changing?”, October 15, 1950.

 

67      The cod: The New York Times, “Our Changing Climate,” October 10, 1952. Waldemar Kaempffert, “Oldtimers May Be Right When They Tell Us That the Climate Is Getting Warmer,” The New York Times, November 30, 1952;

 

67      never much encountered: Time, “The Disappearing Cold,” June 16, 1947.

 

Advancing Fish. In the 19th Century only a few cod were caught off southwestern Greenland. Now they are schooling far north of the Arctic Circle, where grateful Greenlanders and Eskimos are hauling them up by the ton.

 

What a great word for fish deciding to fin their way together: Schooling.

 

67      before 1920: Leonard Engel, “The Weather Is Really Changing,” The New York Times, July 12, 1953. Engel pinpoints the year and location.

 

In 1919, cod appeared for the first time off Godthaab, at 64 degrees North Latitude on the west coast of Greenland. By 1948 they were at 73 degrees North, and cod had become a staple of Eskimo diet, and Greenland a major source of the fish.

 

67      Schools were swimming farther north: Time, “Retreat of the Cold,” October 29, 1951. The fish, “which are very sensitive to temperature changes, have migrated northward some 500 miles since 1920.”

 

67      to bait the hooks: June Owen, “News of Food,” The New York Times, July 9, 1953.

 

67      The Eskimo child’s chunk: Chicago Daily Tribune, “Young Eskimos Crying Out For Lost Blubber: Whales Head North As Weather Warms,” November 17, 1950.

 

68      “sensitive indicator”: For example, since we were just in England with Guy Stewart Callendar, here’s the U.K. Met Office. (Plus a nice detail: the Royal Meteorological Society eventually made Callendar a Fellow.)

U.K. Met Office, “Sea Ice In the Climate System,” Cryosphere Ocean. “Arctic sea ice is a sensitive indicator of climate change and changes to the sea ice cover can have potential implications for the Arctic region and beyond. . .”
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/cryosphere-oceans/sea-ice/index
Accessed 9-2-22.

The way the Swedish glaciologist Hans Ahlmann expressed this in 1947 is “very sensitive to climatic changes.”

Time, “The Disappearing Cold,” June 16, 1947.

 

68      “roughly the energy of four household light bulbs”: Elizabeth Kolbert, Field Notes From A Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, Bloomsbury 2006. Chapter Two, “A Warmer Sky,” 38.

 

68      “A mysterious warming of the climate”: Gladwin Hill, “Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says,” The New York Times, May 30, 1947.

 

69      a mid-century science expedition: Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1958. Chapter Nine, 35.

 

69      This was a geopolitical problem: Hill, “Warming Arctic,” Times, May 30, 1947.

 

69      this change was “enormous”: Hill, “Warming Arctic,” Times, May 30, 1947.

 

69      melting ice caps: Kaempffert, “Oldtimers May Be Right,” Times, November 30, 1952.

 

69      “catastrophic proportions”: Hill, “Warming Arctic,” Times, May 30, 1947. “If, however, the cause were of a global nature, and ‘if the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland ice cap should be reduced at the same rate as the present melting, oceanic surfaces would rise to catastrophic proportions,’ Dr. Ahlmann said. ‘Peoples living in lowlands along the shores would be inundated.’”

 

69      “so serious that I hope”: Hill, “Warming Arctic,” Times, May 30, 1947.

The Parrot and the Igloo by David Lipsky