Several times in the last few months I’ve found myself trying to explain some pretty basic concepts of climate to other sceptics. So, I’ve begun wondering what a basic climate course for sceptics would cover, and my initial ideas are below.
- Introduction to Climate: what is it, the importance of the sun and how do we measure climate.
- Hadley cells, what are they, what causes them and how do they affect climate and ocean currents.
- The weather heat-engine.
- Lapse rate and layers of the atmosphere
- The Greenhouse effect: Earth’s blackbody temperature, the greenhouse temperatures of various theoretical atmospheres and actual planets like Earth, Mars and Venus
- The evidence of ice-ages and large-scale temperature change in the ice-cores.
- The origin of the theory of large scale positive feedbacks in the climate and its critique.
- The theory of the closed atmosphere and the development of the false inference that: “there is no change to the climate except from ‘non-natural’ (i.e. human) influence”.
- Natural variation – what is it, what is its characteristics, where does it come from and the complications it creates when attributing a “cause” to phenomenon.
- El Ninos, PDOs, AMOs, ocean currents and other large-scale climatic patterns and other short-term climate/long-term regional weather patterns.
- Sunspots, solar activity and climate.
- What we know and what we don’t about recent trends in climate and any possible causes and future trends.
- Effect of Climate & CO2 on living things (e.g. People).
- Climate and planet: a long term perspective.
(Note, I don’t necessarily claim to be an expert in all the above areas, but I do think any decent sceptic needs a basic level of knowledge in most of them.)