This comic shows that while temperature changes have indeed occurred before, the speed of the current temperature rise is much, much faster than those seen (actually: estimated) in the previous thousands of years.
The title text compares the slow changes to a car that occur over many years with the rapid destruction caused by burning. This joke was made previously in 1693: Oxidation.
|| As this is a controversial topic, there may be several denialist trolls lurking below. Beware of feeding them.
Well, never mind then. Oh well. -- JayRulesXKCD (talk) 1:02, 12 September 2016
- I acknowledge that the picture is WAY too long, so I added a "skip to explanation" bar, to speed things up. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 17:32, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
- Thank you Run, you clever boy (talk)
Is it just me or does the picture not render all the way down in full resolution on firefox? I found it worked on Chrome and explorer... And Wauw, just after I had created the new Category:Climate change... Was also just watched a QandA program yesterday where Brian Cox tried to convince some Australian politician about global warming, but the other one just cried conspiracy... Will take some time to make this one complete I guess? Great ;-) --Kynde (talk) 17:53, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
- That's the thing with this kind of stuff. It takes a LONG time to make it just right. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 19:08, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Please delete the ridiculous trivia
- The colors used to represent temperature vary from blue (the perceived hue of a black body at 20000K) to pale red (perceived at 2200K).
220.127.116.11 19:44, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Of course you can pretty much ignore the part of the diagram that is in dotted line, you can't rely on that data. 18.104.22.168 20:40, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
- Note that even if we ignore the extrapolated future, the warming in the past century is already a vastly more abrupt climate shift than anything that happened in the preceding 219 centuries. - Frankie (talk) 21:15, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
- Actually we don't know what the shifts were on that scale in the past. The dotted line before modern measurement is a very limited estimate. We have no idea what the year to year changes were in the past, at best we can work out an average. I am reminded of a house mouse(life span of about 1 year) looking at the leaves fall from the tress and saying "Surely this is the end of the world". 22.214.171.124 14:44, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- Randall explicitly addresses your specious complaint at 15900 BCE. Year-to-year fluctuations are not the same as the current century-long surge. Either show scientific evidence or go away, Mr Troll from Seattle Cloudflare. - Frankie (talk) 16:11, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- I should have known better to enter into a religious debate on the internet. 126.96.36.199 00:17, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
- No it is not that which is the problem, but that you try to disqualify the data without even bothering to look through them. Aa mentioned Randall tries to let us know that such a high fluctuation as we have in these last 100 years would not be hidden in the old data. As mentioned by Fankie this is explained between 16000 and 15500 BCE... --Kynde (talk) 14:30, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
- I refuse to debate a matter of faith with you. Note that 15500-16000 is 500 years, perhaps when we have 500 years of accurate temperature measurements we will know more. 188.8.131.52 03:54, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
- I'm not surprised that you can't even read a chart. 16000-15500 BCE is where the explanation is placed on the chart. The fluctuations he shows that would not register are small fluctuations over a decade or two. A fluctuation of a century would "unlikely" be smoothed out. The examples are even drawn to scale... 3rd grade level stuff here. 184.108.40.206 17:28, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
- Why even bring your faith into this? 220.127.116.11 16:29, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
- I call Troll. Talking about the significance of where the subchart/Legend/footnote lies? Like what years it's next to actually has any significance? Either he's too dim to actually look, or he's trolling. The standard recommendation is "Don't feed the trolls". :) - NiceGuy1 18.104.22.168 02:55, 16 September 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. (Heh, seems I was right, looks like the troll stopped after I called him out) :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
- Frankie, funny how the nonaveraged plots [and even the averaged plot] linked to below invalidates Randall's plot, "Hence the comparison is not comparing like with like and is scientifically invalid." The temperature rate between 1859 (coincident with America's discovery of petroleum and the Carrington Event) and today does not exceed that within the past 2,000, 20,000, or 100,000s of years. The present surge (the tip of the "hockey stick") concerns not 100 years but almost 40 years (36 years in Randall's plot) which does not successfully meet the three fluctuation disclaimers. As mentioned in the Wikimedia discussion the temperature resolution is about 300 years; therefore it should take another 150 years to see whether this slope corrects itself. Lysdexia (talk) 13:04, 5 January 2019 (UTC)
- Have you read the referenced papers? Well you fit well with the people he refers to between the two lines at the top. ;-) We are heading for troublesome times :-( 164: Playing Devil's Advocate to Win... --Kynde (talk) 21:22, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
- the use unqualified of the words "still many people" is exactly the kind of weasely nonsense that this comic is designed to refute. there are "still many people" who claim the earth is flat, that they have been abducted by aliens, or that the MMR jab made their children autistic. those people are deluded or insincere. the difference with deniers of climate change is that there are in their ranks scientists who are clear-sighted but who have decided that funding at any price is better than none. this site should be better than that. --22.214.171.124
- You're absolutely right, the ranks of climate deniers do indeed include a few scientists willing to sell their voices to the highest bidder (e.g. http://www.polluterwatch.com/heartland-institute ). But is that what you meant to say? - Frankie (talk) 11:50, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- that the wording be changed to reflect that. --126.96.36.199 11:59, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
For a large post like this, it's a wonder that we can all keep up and edit something like this all at once. Wow. --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 11:56, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- Also, anyone else notice that this was a top trending post on Facebook last night? I don't know if I could call it a milestone but it's still pretty cool. And WE edited it! :D --JayRulesXKCD (talk) 12:06, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- Very interesting, so it was explain xkcd and not xkcd that where the top trending post? Could you post a link to where you found this out? --Kynde (talk) 20:15, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
- I can see you are right from the fact that Randall has chosen to postpone his next comic in order to keep this one on the front page for all the new visitors as has now been noted in the explanation and in the trivia section. --Kynde (talk) 14:30, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Maybe someone should add the fact that the transcript may be a reference to oxidation?Transuranium (talk) 19:21, 13 September 2016 (UTC)Transuranium
- I think you mean the "title text" not the transcript? And that you refer to the recent comic 1693: Oxidation which is indeed referened in the title text, then that has been written at the bottom of the main explanation and has been there already since the 12th edit less than 1½ hour after the comic came out... --Kynde (talk) 20:02, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Is nobody else having a problem seeing the comic? Both here and on XKCD I get an "Image not found" icon, a blue question mark. I thought maybe this was an interactive comic that doesn't work on my iPad (like that garden thing, though that did nothing on my computer either). If I tap it on XKCD nothing happens, here it leads to the picture's Wiki page - also with the question mark - which says it's a PNG, which I know this iPad can show. It's 11pm EST, maybe night maintenance on XKCD? Or the file got renamed without updating the sites? - NiceGuy1 188.8.131.52 03:12, 14 September 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
- I had trouble seeing it on my own PC using Firefox but not the other browsers I have. See my early comment above. I guess the file is too big for your iPad as it is a very huge file. I tried to download it but it failed. --Kynde (talk) 14:07, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
- It's weird that I got what is clearly an "Image not found" icon, though. Maybe my 1st Gen iPad's Safari saw the file, decided "No way I'm loading that!"(or "that size can't be right", LOL!) and chose to show the error icon instead. When I force the issue, by going directly to the image URL listed on XKCD, the first time Safari crashed rather than load the image (but it crashes on a regular basis, so that didn't deter me), the second time it crashed, the third time it actually loaded, and I was able to see it. After seeing mentions here of spelling errors (though I have to disagree on "Pokemon", generally only people connected to the show bother with the accent. Like how I'm the only one who spells Hallowe'en correctly, with the apostrophe), I thought maybe the comic was taken down to correct it, but guess not. LOL! - NiceGuy1 184.108.40.206 20:54, 14 September 2016 (UTC) So's this! NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
I feel that the missing bottom axis is a usability problem, so I fixed it. See it here. Hananc (talk) 10:42, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
- Nice but I'm sure it was on purpose to indicate that time continues down,as well as a possible even worse temperature change. As shown in the previous global warming comic 1379 Earth has been 8 degree hotter than now... And apart from the last small segment (albeit a very important one) you either remember that white is normal and bluer is colder redder is warmer or else you cannot use the chart in between the top and bottom, and since this is the longest xkcd comic so far it would be a shame. :-) --Kynde (talk) 14:07, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
Okay, now that I've managed to SEE the damn thing, I have a question. There's no mention of why this is using "BCE" and "CE" instead of the standard "BC" and "AD", never mind what these stand for (thinking and thinking about it, my guess is "Before Christ Era" and "Christ Era"). This is the kind of thing that should be mentioned on ExplainXKCD, LOL! Fun fact: when I searched this page for "BCE", to confirm it wasn't explained, I got "Over 100 matches". :) Anyway, I figure maybe those are currently accepted scientific terminology, especially since "AD" is Latin, unlike "BC", but the average person still uses BC and AD. In fact, I think this is the first time I've ever seen BCE and CE (unless it's been on XKCD before and I just dismissed it as a typo or something. This time there are WAY too many for it to be a mistake every time, including here in the explanation!) - NiceGuy1220.127.116.11 21:20, 14 September 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
- It's "Before Common Era" and "Common Era", an alternative to BC/AD. Pretty common alternative, though I don't know why off-hand - probably to remove the religious connotations of "Christ" and "Year of our Lord". --18.104.22.168 23:23, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
- Because they're the standards in the scientific community. The guy above assumed his way is standard, but that's inaccurate. 22.214.171.124 00:26, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
- I assume nothing. My statements are completely accurate. I OBSERVE it is the standard, the only standard anybody (else) seems to use. BC/AD is the "standard" because it is standard practice to use it. For good reason, since I would estimate just about everybody knows what it means, while I am sure I am in the majority in having never heard BCE/CE. It is also not "my" way, I made no choice here, it is the established convention, it is the way accepted and adopted by society. While I would normally be more inclined towards terminology devoid of religion (as seems to be the point here, now that someone kindly clarified these acronyms for me), I feel this would be a losing fight, one it would be foolish to attempt, the classic terminology is too ingrained in society. Sorry. - NiceGuy1 126.96.36.199 02:44, 16 September 2016 (UTC) Also mine! NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
- For the convenience of archeologists working in the Middle East. Wwoods (talk) 01:16, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
- Thank you! Yes, it sounds to me like the point would be to remove the religious aspect. Personally, I don't really mind the religious terminology, I just see it as historical, keeping a record of where the names and numbering came from. - NiceGuy1 188.8.131.52 02:44, 16 September 2016 (UTC) Also mine! NiceGuy1 (talk) 11:03, 9 June 2017 (UTC)
What this comic doesn't show is what kind of changes occurred in the previous interglacial period as opposed to the current one. Since the current one is not yet over there could still be a stage of an interglacial with rapid temperature rise which we are only now reaching, but has happened in previous interglacial periods.
184.108.40.206 02:32, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
- Check out this 400k year comparison of temperature variations from two ice core projects in Antarctica, Lake Vostok and EPICA. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ice_Age_Temperature.png (Note that Randall's timeline matches up pretty well with the last 20k years on the far right of the graph) 220.127.116.11 13:23, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
I think this would be first time where I see global thermonuclear war described as "best case scenario". There was and still is lot of discussion about how much is current warming caused by humans, but that's not important. Important question is "can we stop it?" and the answer is "not without literally billions of dead" (and even that might not suffice). Any money currently used for most plans to reduce CO2 (which usually fails to reduce CO2, not speaking about global warming, but succeed in their main goal, which is moving the money into pockets of their proponents) would be better spent on ADAPTING to the change. Only plans for reducing CO2 actually worth doing are the ones related to stopping burning fossil fuels, because we will soon need fossil fuels to make food (and other stuff) from. Oh, and also stop burning FOOD. So we should replace fossil fuel power plants with only viable alternative - NUCLEAR. So called renewable power sources like solar are good addition, but doesn't scale to the amount of power and stability we need. -- Hkmaly (talk) 14:12, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
So disappointing to see that Randall Hitler Munroe subscribes to the obviously false "global warming" religion. He should know better. 18.104.22.168 00:11, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
- Troll troll trolly trolly troll troll troll 22.214.171.124 03:07, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
- https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/261:_Regarding_Mussolini 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
I understand the concept behind this comic, but why doesn't the graph include atmospheric CO2, sulfur aerosols, and solar 10.7cm radio flux for comparison? Also, for the person who suggested we look at previous interglacial periods, I may be wrong, but I believe a lot of that data comes from ice cores, that would make it hard to look at time periods before the present ice sheets existed. IIRC, there were periods not too long ago (geologically speaking) where Antarctica was covered in lakes, tundra, and sparse forests instead of ice sheets.188.8.131.52 05:08, 16 September 2016 (UTC)
The jump of 0.5 degrees from 2000 to 2016 has been shown to be false. It exists because "scientists" went back and changed (or "seasonally adjusted") their data to fit their preconceived conclusions. Just look at Al Gore's 'Inconvenient [Non]Truth', pretty much every doomsday scenario has not occurred. I expect better of XKCD.184.108.40.206 20:58, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
It would be very nice if they wouldn't spread climate change misinformation.
22,000 year Time line [20,000 BC to 2000 AD]
2.5 to 3 billion years of Evolution
on a 4 Billion year old Planet
22,000 / 2,500,000,000 = 0.0000088
Using 0.00088 % of Evolutionary History do decide what the weather is supposed to look like.
Now an atmospheric history lesson
Oxygen 12.5% - Carbon Dioxide 0.45% - Average Temp. 21 °C - sea level 30 - 90 meters
Oxygen 13.5% - Carbon Dioxide 0.42% - Average Temp. 16 °C - sea level 180 - 220 - 140 meters
Oxygen 14% - Carbon Dioxide 0.45% - Average Temp. 17 °C - sea level 180 meters
Oxygen 15% - Carbon Dioxide 0.22% - Average Temp. 20 °C - sea level 189 - 120 meters
Oxygen 32.5% - Carbon Dioxide 0.08% - Average Temp. 14 °C - sea level 120 - 0 - 80 meters
Oxygen 23% - Carbon Dioxide 0.09% - Average Temp. 16 °C - sea level 60 - 0 - -20 meters
Oxygen 16% - Carbon Dioxide 0.1750% - Average Temp. 17 °C - sea level 0 meters
Oxygen 26% - Carbon Dioxide 0.1950% - Average Temp. 16.5 °C
Oxygen 30% - Carbon Dioxide 0.17% - Average Temp. 18 °C
Oxygen 26% - Carbon Dioxide 0.05% - Average Temp. 18 °C
Oxygen 21.5% - Carbon Dioxide 0.028% - Average Temp. 14 °C
Oxygen 20.9% - Carbon Dioxide 0.039% - Average Temp. 15 °C
As you can see an atmosphere when healthy should have
Oxygen 25 - 32%
Carbon dioxide 0.1 - 0.15%
Average Temperature 14 - 18 °C
Sea level 60 - 180 meters
and there should be no polar ice caps
our sea level is at extinction levels
our carbon dioxide is almost too low for plants to survive
and our oxygen level is almost suffocatingly low
Less Carbon Dioxide means less Plants
Less plants means less Oxygen
Less Oxygen means less Life220.127.116.11 07:24, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
- I think the point of comics is that while there were changes in temperature before, they were never this rapid. Although I wouldn't be sure about THAT either ... granted, the previous rapid changes were accompanied with mass extinction ... -- Hkmaly (talk) 15:16, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
- Yeah, the long sample intervals and best fit curves from pre-industrial temperature estimates tend to smooth out any rapid changes that may have occurred over the time period (Think of an ECG/EKG that took a single instantaneuos microvolt sample once every 15 minutes of your life from birth to death, the resulting deflection graph would not look like anything like a normal heart rhythm, but it could be interpreted as the average electrical activity of your heart over the course of a lifetime). It's true that the rapid climate shifts we are able see in geological records usually coincide with things like supervolcano eruptions and asteroid impacts. But those shifts are usually to the negative end from the nuclear winter effect. Idea for reversing global warming without affecting CO2 emissions, just send a couple of hypervelocity rods or a gravity-tractored asteroid into a dormant supervolcano caldera every few years and... instant winter. 18.104.22.168 02:38, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Very interesting and important work.
Actually.... Solomon and Jesus are not historical figures. Outside the Old and the New Testament, there is no archaeological or other evidence for their existence. I suppose, Jesus has played a significant role in history. So, you may be justified to add an entry saying something like "Date that religious traditions hold as the date of birth of Jesus."
Then, if you mention, say, Shakespeare, then you should also mention the estimated composition of the Bible, an event with more important historical influences.
Roman empire was continued for more than thousand years (Eastern Roman Empire, today reffered as Byzantium).
Current scholarly wisdom is that the Homeric epics, (the Iliad and the Odussey) were composed at the second half of the 8th century, perhaps around 720 BCE.
Konstantas (talk) 05:14, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
I wonder if it is getting to be a good time to make a followup, showing the further warming over the last several years and the rightward movement of the 'if we...' paths. 21-Feb-2020
Actual best-case scenario
The actual best-case scenario is far better than Randall's depiction; please see. However, the URLs below in that linked Imgur gallery's first caption were rendered unclickable, probably for spam protection measures, so I reproduce them here:
- Actual "best-case scenario assuming immediate massive action to limit emissions"
- From https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/17/why-cant-we-give-up-fossil-fuels
- What will it take to get to this scenario? https://www.solveforx.com/explorations/foghorn/ with http://freenights.txu.com/ and http://co2-chemistry.eu/ for ocean carbonate-sourced plastic composite structural lumber allowing reforestation.
JSalsman (talk) 15:02, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
- First, the Guardian is a newspaper, not a science journal. Second, that article is from 2013, before the latest upsurge. Third, even ignoring those things, the article doesn't say what you claim it does. The single most optimistic sentence I see is "If we are lucky, the impact of burning all that oil, coal and gas could turn out to be at the less severe end of the plausible spectrum." The rest of the article is quite pessimistic, such as "it is overwhelmingly likely that we would shoot well past 2C and towards 3C or even 4C of warming."
- Please post exact quotes where your links talk about a better scenario. Please do not post URLs and expect us to figure out what you mean. You are making the claim, the burden of proof is on you. - Frankie (talk) 17:13, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
- How do you expect me to quote from the graphs? I can't upload images, maybe I need more edits. Please ask any questions you like. JSalsman (talk) 06:14, 1 November 2016 (UTC)
- please explain how the Guardian graph you posted on imgur has to do with better scenarios. The title: "Cuts required for 50% chance of not exceeding 2°C". The footer: "CO2 emissions since 1850 (red); exponential growth (blue); cuts to hit climate target (dashed)." It says that in order to possibly reach the "optimistic" +2° scenario (Randall's 2nd line, not the 1st one), we would need to cut anthropogenic CO2 to about 1/10th our current level, which is ridiculously unlikely to happen. The other graphs you posted are just hypothetical extrapolations about energy production that, even if they're trustworthy (which I doubt) don't reference any climate scenarios at all, much less ones better than the timeline. Until you can post a cogent explanation, I will assume you are trolling and undo your edits. - Frankie (talk) 17:19, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
- If you extrapolate  to 2023-4, renewables dominate, right? Wind has been in competitive equilibrium with coal since 1995, and solar hit grid parity early this year and is expected to continue falling in price about as fast at least until 2035. Is there any reason to believe fossil fuels won't be abandoned by 2030? JSalsman (talk) 02:01, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
- Exactly zero words in your explanation discuss how the linked graphs show the existence of a better scenario than the ones listed in the timeline. Your very first graph, from the Guardian, explicitly says 50% chance of not exceeding 2°C, which is Randall's middle scenario. That means it supports exactly what Randall is saying. It says absolutely nothing about a scenario better than the "best case" timeline. - Frankie (talk) 21:06, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
- Do you understand the words that I am saying? The words that I have been saying from the start of this conversation? I don't f***ing care about pie in the sky energy projects. Even if your energy claims are correct, they don't say a single d**n thing about beating the +1.2°C curve.. - Frankie (talk) 21:13, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
- I apologize. I confused the +1° mark with +2°. The labels are so far above at the top. You are correct. I will forgo uploading the graphs as we are now in agreement. JSalsman (talk) 22:23, 3 November 2016 (UTC)
- Frankie (talk) 23:41, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
Interesting Ways to Look at it.
Hey, I had a great time scrolling down and watching the earth heat up :).22.214.171.124 19:47, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
ICYMI, Cato provides an IPCC MAGICC climate model simulator for anyone to examine. FWIW, I side with Bjorn Lomborg, who famously champions a middle way in climate science for the sake of downtrodden peoples around the world. Should we reconsider this explanation in this light? Run, you clever boy (talk)
Fact checking the chart on Stack Exchange
I posted a question on Earth Sciences Stack Exchange about how the Younger Dryas fits into this comic: http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/q/9103/6973
There was also an existing question about the chart's general accuracy: http://earthscience.stackexchange.com/q/8746/6973
--Aaron Rotenberg (talk) 02:53, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Translation of the Morse code message
The translation of the explanation in "Telegraph", written in Morse code, is: "Now, the mother of Samuel Morse always sent the lad out on a horse." Agusbou2015 (talk) 15:56, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
...So after the election of a climate change denier later in the year of this comic's release, several sad comics have been posted. Some of the reason could be that Randall no longer believes that even his worst fears (as expressed by the current path at the bottom) will hold up, when USA gets a president, who will on purpose act in a way that scientist claims will make the temperature rise even more. See more here.
I've mentioned this on the talk page for 2137: Text Entry, but I'll reiterate it here: this observation is not factual, not relevant to the explanation, and does not belong in the description of this comic. If you read it in context, you will see that it is also a non-sequitur, clumsily inserted after one or two factual sentences - it does not follow from anything prior in the discussion. It is poorly expressed and the point being made is unclear in any case.
While the user doing this may well have honest intentions, they are simply defacing articles with their own anti-Trump projections and spamming a link to their own, misleadingly-titled page (Sad comics) which has no clear meaning or explanatory value. Hawthorn (talk) 16:38, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
- I have removed the offending paragraph. Hawthorn (talk) 21:20, 26 May 2019 (UTC)