OF REDLANDS, CALIFORNIA  - Founded 24 January 1895

MEETING # 1555

4:00 P.M.

APRIL 27, 1995

Global Warming ? ?

by Myron J. Talbert M.D.

Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library


Myron J. Talbert M.D. was born on April 1, 1923, in Omaha, NB


Undergraduate: U. of N. Dakota
Graduate: M.D., Temple U. School of Medicine
Internship: Madison General Hospital, WI
Military: US Army, Orthopedic Surgery, 2 yrs
Residency: Madison, WI, General Surgery, 4 yrs

Medical Practice

General Surgery, Redlands, CA, 1956, to Jan. 1990

Past Medical Organization Activities

Chief of Staff Redlands Community Hospital, 1960-61, 1975-77.
Chief of Staff, San Bernardino County Hospital
Clinical Instructor in Surgery, SB County Hospital, 25 years.
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Loma Linda Medical School
Co-founder and general partner, Inland Surgery Center, Redlands
President San Bernardino County Medical Society
President San Bernardino Foundation for Medical Care
President Tri-County Surgical Society
Delegate to California Medical Association State Blue Shield Board, 6 years

Community Activities

One of the founding members of the Redlands Racquet Club, and third president
One of the original members of the Redlands Swim and Tennis Club
Kiwanis, 34 years
Redlands Chamber of Commerce
Forum Club of Redlands
Member of the First United Methodist Church, where he served as usher and member of the building committee for the present sanctuary
Second president of the Redlands Art Association
Song and dance man in all five "Fractured Follies" musical shows 1965-1963 benefiting Redlands Community Hospital

Sports and Hobbies

Tournament winner in golf (low net) in San Bernardino County Medical Society's annual event plus the winner in both tennis singles and doubles.
Enjoys fishing, wood carving, and painting.


Wife: Harriet, well-known Redlands accompanist for the Redlands Bowl community sings each summer, and for three Bowl musicals, and more than 24 Redlands High School musical, and the five RCH follies.
Children: Kathy Talbert Weller, Brooklyn, NY; Barbara Hardy? Santa Ana, CA; Nancy Talbert Belk, Redlands, CA; Mike Talbert, Grand Terrace, CA

During Mike's childhood in Grand Forks, ND, his father, Doctor G. A. Talbert, was a member of a Fortnightly Club and many meetings were held in his home.


GLOBAL WARMING ?? Ken Hubbard, humorist (1868-1930) amide "Don't knock the weather' Nine tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while."

I had some misgivings when I decided to write on the subject of global warming' partly because I certainly am not an authority on the subject and that feelings run high as to how and if, we, as human beings, are affecting our environment.

In the late sixties and early seventies there were some studies that suggested that we might be entering another ice age but about 1970 the opposite opinion arose (due to concerns about the ozone layer) when the united States was considering the building of a supersonic jet. It was thought by some that a catalytic reaction might take place from the emissions from such a jet that would destroy thousands of ozone molecules and thus remove some of this protection from ultraviolet rays and there-fore contributed to global warming. o

On October 19, 1987 Time magazine ran a story on the subject of ozone depletion. The media then became involved.

After reading more on the subject I decided to try to separate scientific facts from computer projected theory. I first read Trashing the Planets by Dixy Lee Ray who was the former Governor of the state of Washington, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Assistant Secretary of State in the U.S. Bureau of Oceans and a long time member of the zoology faculty at the Univeraity of Washington. She is a recipient of the United Nation Peace Prize.

I then read "Global Warming" by Dr. Stephen H. SchneiderO He is a cliaa-tologist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The book was published in 1989. The entire first chapter is devoted to describing dire climate changes resulting from carbon dioxide build-up and because of man made polution the ozone layer is being destroyed resulting in the penetrati. of ultraviolet rays which in turn enhances the green house effect.

He begins with a disclaimer stating "This chapter, while obviously fictional, is meant to provide a feeling for what a year in the green house century might have in store for us if nothing is done to deal with the growing problem of global warming."

He goes on to paint alarming scenarios:

1. Heat, smog, water shortages and raging forest fires in California.

2. The Great Lakes and the Mississippi river will run low exposing toxic sediments.

3. Emergency rooms in New York will be inundated with heat stroke victims.

4. He predicts due to melting of the artic and antarctic ice caps, there will be a rise in the ocean level by several feet if the global temperature rises 2 to 3. centigrade. This will require the placing of dikes in New York at extensive costs. He says the next two to three decades will determine whether or not he is correct.

Dr. Schneider's testimony along with that of Dr. Jim Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute supported by Senator Birth and the then Senator Al Gore together with an exceptionally hot summer in Washington, resulted in Congress passing strong draconian laws to restrict the use of chlorofluro carbons called CFC'so These laws affect us all because it means we must eliminate the use of freon 12 (twelve) in our refrigeration and air condi-tioners in our homes, offices as well as public buildings.

To give you an idea of the effect and magnitude of these restrictions' There are 100 million refrigerators, 90 million cars and trucks, 40,000 super market display cases and 100~000 building air conditioners. It will take 150 billion dollars just to replace the refrigeration systems in ve-hi›les such as trucks and railroad cars used to transport food to markets.

Must we then go back to the use of toxic ammonia and the sulfur dioxide that we previously used?

DuPont and other companies would be glad to sell us new refrigerants which they hope to develop and patent. There is some hope in this regard. A man named Holsknecht discovered that four parts of propane and three parts of butane is a cheap and efficient refrigerant but it, too, would require reworking of the refrigeration units. Ita main drawback obviously is the extreme inflammability of the substance.

A substance called Suva, which is CFC 134 a, has been developed by DuPont but is not as effective and furthermore will also be outlawed by these same regulations in the year 2000 not to mention the fact it is also hazardous to handle because of its toxicity.

There is agreement between the scientific factions on several facts. The use of the term "greenhouse effect" is generally accepted. After all, without it we would have a climate such as there is on the moon with daytime temperatures around 212 F and nighttime temperatures of~270 F.

The greenhouse effect is due to a layer of ozone from 10 to 40 Km in altitude which is the protective layer against penetration of ultraviolet ~rays. Only about 5 ~ of the incoming solar radiation reaches the earth due to this layer. About 20-254 or so is absorbed in the atmosphere and the remainder reflected back into space.

The layer is made up of water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, chlorine and a few other lesser gasses. All of the gasses are produced by nature as well as by humane. Carbon dioxide is one of the major ones. It is generally thought that the amount of carbon dioxide released in the atmoa-phere is divided about equally between natural and man made sources.

The natural sources come from the respiration of organisms, decaying vegetation, volcanos, forest and grass fires.

Cows produce fifty million tons of hydrocarbons and methane per year. Methane also comes from awampa, coal mines and rice paddies. According to -Di~, Lee Ray, fifty billion tons of carbon dioxide and methane comes from the digestive activities of termites which is ten times that of burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels and respiration are the main contribution of man to the carbon dioxide.

Scientists on both sides agree that greenhouse gasses are on the rise with carbon dioxide accounting for some fifty per cent of the increase. The increase being estimated at about ~ per cent per year O Here is where disagreement arises' whether carbon dioxide is the cause of the anticipated global warming or not.

Both sides also agree that there has been about a 0.5. C increase in global temperature over the past 100 years but given the increase in carbon dioxide, if that is the cause, there should have been a rise of 2 to 4 C in that time.

It is true that taking the temperature of the planet is difficult and at best questionable. Official temperature records in Europe were initiated in 1781 when the Meterological Society of the Palatinate began to keep records. Historically, however, climate has changed naturally even before the industrial revolution.

There was a warm period during medieval times as evidenced by the Vikings sailing through the North Atlantic without encountering icebergs. They discovered Greenland which was then truly green and not covered by glacial ice as it is nose AFter a few hundred years of warming, a "Little Ice Age" occurred from 1450 to 1850 during which time the Thames river froze solid up to London and the last time being in 1840.

In 1990 theU. S. Department of Agriculture put out its first revised hardiness report since 1965 based on 14,500 records of different temperature measuring stations. The report showed a movement of the limit of clangor of killing frost to be 100 miles south of what it had been in 1965.

Both sides mention historic measurements of carbon dioxide by analysis of air bubbles obtained by core samples in the artic and antarctic ice.

Carbon isotopes in tree rings as well as analysis of ocean sediment cores all indicate carbon dioxide levels were around 260 to 280 parts per million at the end of the last ice age some 10~000 years ago. The measurements of carbon dioxide varied as much as 205 as the earth passed through the glacial and interglacial periods

It is true there is a 25› increase with levels amounting to 340 parts per million due to carbon dioxide. This could be due to the use of fossil fuels but what explains the much greater increases in the prehistoric past?

Both sides recognize there was a period of climatic optimum some 9,000 to 5,000 years ago when the world temperature was thought to be 4. F warmer than the present. ~ second little climatic optimum occurred from 800 to 1300 A. D.

In Scandinavia, Scotland and the high country of England and Bales, farming was possible where it had never been before or since. There was then a fall in temperature thought to be as much as 9 F less in the 200 years from 1200 to 1400 A. D. This drop in temperature brought hard-ships in the form of famine in northern Italy, black death and finally bubonic plague which killed a third of northern Europe's people. From 1550 to 1700 the earth experienced the coldest temperature since the last ice age that is about 3. F colder than the present.

In Schneider's book on global warming page 117-118, he admits according to computerized studies there should have been twice as much warming in the last century. He explains possible reasons for this error on overestimated trace greenhouse increases by twice the actual amount. Competitive external forces such as volcanic dust, changes in solar energy output and regional tropospheric aerosol from biological and industrial activity have not properly accounted for. In addition, the large heat capacity of the oceans take up some of the heating of the greenhouse effectO He discounts this in the long run but one must remember that 73› of the earth is ocean and it is no small factors

He goes on to explain the error on the fact his models have been run based on equivalent doubling of carbon dioxide and not on the 25% actually experienced Lastly he says there is an incomplete and non-uniform network of thermometers which he feels has underestimated the actual global warming over this past century. He then admits that Most climatologists do not claim beyond a reasonable doubt that the observed temperature records have been caused by the greenhouse effect."

There is an article in the February 1995 issue of Scientific American by Dr. Roger Larson on the cretaceous superplume episode 120 million years ago in which microfosaile of the Jurrsasic period were recovered from Grillings in the floor of the western Pacific Ocean. This was thought to represent hard evidence of deep sea sediments and volcanic rocks still in place from eons ago. These were thought to be from volcanic eruptions from the ocean floor.

The ocean floor was canned to rise and in turn the sea level rose 250 meters above its present level. The erupted molten lava released certain chemicals, including carbon dioxide thus raising the world temperature some 10. C. He noted that reversal of the earths magnetic field did not occur during that time. Reversals are frequent now which he feels indicates a low plume activity. It would appear that the center of controversy is the admitted rising of the carbon dioxide level at the present time associated with depletion of the ozone layer.

Ozone, the substance in the "greenhouse layer", is O3. It is quite un-stable and reacts to exposure to short ware ultraviolet rays converting back and forth to CO (monoxide) and O2 oxygen. The layer is very turbulent changing frequently in thickness and at certain times of the year has thinning described as a hole in ite The "hole" appears in the Antarctic and is affected by severe storms and cold which occurs in the spring of the year, which is October in the southern hemisphere. This lasts three to five weeks as a rule.

Measurements of the thickness of the ozone layer have only been attempted for a few decades. The~hole"was discovered about 1956. CFC's have been blamed as the cause of the "hole" by Schneider as well as Sharon Roan in her book Ozone Crises". On page 33 she says that CFC's were first developed in 192B but their use was not very extensive until the sixties. The "hole" Seemed to grow in size during the eighties and was larger in 1985. It was smaller in 1986 but was the largest in 1987. In 1988 they had trouble finding it and when they finally found it, it was only 15% as large as predicted.

Chlorides from the CFC's were thought by Dr. Schneider to be the cause but Dr. Ray states this has not been established. Sharon Roan reports findings by two researchers' Rowland and Holing, also indicated the same increase in chlorides but it did not alter the ozone layer. It was found that the chlorine oxide was in the stratophere rather than the topisphere layer. This work was done using balloons. Rowland and Nolina believe that it will possibly take 100 years for the build-up to occur and that is why there is no significant change in the ozone layer now.

Using balloons in the stratosphere, Jim Anderson, a University of Michigan physicist, found one part per billion of chlorine and chlorine oxide whereas the predicted level was two parts per billion. However, in seven trials one returned a reading of eight parts per billion. He did not have an explanation for it but surmised that it might have been a meteor or gee from a passing rocket that caused the anomaly.

Both sides recognize natural effects from sun spots and volcanic eruptions but the weight given to these events differs.

It is of interest to note that 289 billion Kg's of chlorine were spewed into the stratosphere by the eruption of St. Augustine in Alaska in 1976. This was 570 times the total production of chlorine and fluorocarbon ›om-pounds emitted in the entire year in 1975. Other volcanos such as Mt. Erebus near McMurdo Hound and Mt. St. Helena all contributed their share.

Schneider and others state that the increased ultraviolet exposure has caused increased malignant melanoma, basal squamous cell carcinomas as well as blindness in sheep in New Zealand and south Chili. The latter was found to be due to pink eye.

Although squamous cell Carcinoma and basal cell cancers are probably partly related to ultraviolet exposure, the type of skin probably plays a large roles Helanoma, although is definitely on the rise, probably is not as much related to such exposure. Although it occurs in the warmer climates such as in Australia, it frequently affects the covered areas of the body and is more frequent in indoor workers than outdoor workers. If ultraviolet is the cause of this increase it is of interest to note that the National Bureau of Standards referenced in "access to Energy" April 1989, vol. 16, #8 reveals from a network of measuring devices there was a 00 ~ to lolI decrease in the amount of ultraviolet penetrating through the ozone layer to the earth.

In 1987 the United States signed the Montreal Protocol on Substance that deplete the ozone layer. This binds us to penalties for use of CFC's such as Freon 12 and worse yet the use of the effective fire fighting foam made with Halon. The latter must be eliminated by the year 20000

Very little CFC's find their way into the atmospheres Disy Lee Ray's book "Environmental Overkills reports that it has been discovered that CFC's are four to eight times heavier than air depending on which one is studied and that the soil bacteria destroys the CFC's within a few days to weeks. (Geophysical research Letters Vol 16, No. 7 July 1989).

In 1988, as previously mentioned, laws were passed to outlaw CTC's and Halon. An exceptionally hot summer in Washington together with the testi-mony of Jim Hansen and Senators Gore and Birth were strong factors. Dr. Hansen stated he was 99% sure that these were the cause of the heat wave. Even Dr. Schneider thought he was a bit strong in his estimate and went on to say "I noted that there are too many assumptions we could not verify (such as the independence of one years temperature from the next) and things we didn't know (how to correct for urban bias effect) to be able to assign meaningful probabilities. Nevertheless I said I completely agreed with Jim.--The fact that I believed the enhanced greenhouse effect was already present in the observed records was not the same as proving it, which is why I preferred to use verbal rather than numerical descriptions of its likelihood."

Most of Schneider's assumptions are based on supercomputer projections as are those of Rowland and Molina. The December issue of the Reader's Digest had the following chart which shows the computer predictions compared with the actual measurements of global temperatures.

Going back to causes of the rising carbon dioxide level, deforestation with clear cutting has been blamed. Burning of the lumber as occurs especially in South America contributes even more to the carbon dioxide level.

An article by Margurite Holloway in July 1993 issue of Scientific American points out these problems as relates to the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. The purpose of her investigation was to try to meet the economic needs of the local people as well as the ecological effect.

Apparently the cutting of the forests with replacement with grazing land and crops has not been successful because in a few years the land cannot sustain crops and is overgrown by weeds that cannot be used for grazing. Lumbering is the major industry but much of the wood is used for heating rather than building. Attempts at selective logging haYeni~been successful because it is estimated that 27 small trees are destroyed for every one cut. She states some 220 tons of carbon are released from each hectare of forest that is burned. She states that tropical forest loss is estimated to have contributed one quarter of the carbon released in the atmosphere during the past decades. She further claims that the local climate and rainfall pattern will be changed as a result of this rain forest treatment.

In this country there was no attempt to regulate logging until 1920. Up to that time the practices were thoughtless and wasteful. Since that time we have developed cutting devices that can cut a marketable tree without damaging the surrounding trees. Tractors with large tires are used so as not to damage the ground and even helicopters are sometimes used to lift the logs out. Clear cutting has been decried by environmentalists but according to a recent report by the Presidentts advisory panel on timber, it can be done effectively without damaging the ground nutrients, soil erosion, wild life or stream sedimentation. The douglas fir needs mineral soil and sunlight to reproduces The clear cutting is done in a checkerboard pattern to allow enough sunlight for the seeds to grow.

Old trees metabolize more slowly and therefore remove less carbon dioxide by photosynthesis than young trees. Young growing trees remove five to seven tons more carbon dioxide per acre per year than old growth.

Have we really destroyed too many trees? N1SA recently published a report based on images from 570 miles in space in which they stated there was extensive deforestation in the Pacific NorthwestO These are computer en-hanced simulations of different wave lengths of light reflected from the earths surface. They do not show 4 to 10 inch seedlings and even 8 - 10 foot tall trees. American loggers have been since 1920 very responsible in their management. They have planted 400 trees for every 83 that are cut.

In the United States the average annual wood growth is more than three times what it was in 1920. Good management of leased public land according to a 1990 report from the Bureau of Land Management in the past 30 years has re-sulted in an increase in the elk population of 800 per cent, big horn sheep 435% and moose 500%. So it appears that the animal life is beneficially affected by what is being done by the logging industry.

Another thought on the subject of global warming is expressed in "The Public Interest" No. 118 winter 1995 by Thomas Gale Moore. His article "Why Global Warming Would Be Good For You" points out that fluctuations in the carbon dioxide level correspond to changes in the climate yet no one seems to be able to establish whether the warming proceeded or follow ed the rise in the carbon dioxide level.

He addresses the effect of warming iB relation to how we live. Climate does affect agriculture, forestry and fishing but factories, insurance, retailing, education and the like are unaffected. Our vacationing habits might change and ski resorts could suffer but the northern areas might then become more desirable vacation sites.

The warming also will lengthen the growing season and the associated increase in carbon dioxide enriches the photosynthesis causing better growth.

He points out that geologic history reveals an increase in precipitation during the times when the global temperatures were warmer rather than less as predicted by the environmentalists.

William Cline of the institute for international economics has calculated the cost of cutting fossil fuel emissions by a third by 2040 would be 3.5/ of the world gross product -- roughly 900 billion annually which would slow growth and impoverish some who survive on the margin.

Where does all of this leave us? I can only tell you my personal feelings. Environmentalists have called attention to our planet and have done much good in pointing out that we cannot carelessly waste our natural resources They forced the lumbering industry into replacing the timber they cut and are forcing the automobile manufacturers into cutting down on emissions that contribute to smog. On the other hand, we have tended to throw the baby out with the bath water when we restrict and eliminate some vital CFC's such as Freon and Halon at tremendous cost without proof that they are harmful to the atmosphere.

I think the oceans play a large role acting as a sink for carbon dioxide, sulfides and chlorine. This area should be studied more. We can and should continue to try to cut down on carbon dioxide formation even though the ocean may well be able to accomodate most of the emissions. Remember con-verting to electricity sounds like the answer but it,too,takes generations of electricity. Converting to nuclear energy to produce it is a possible consideration. Don't forget electrical automobiles require batteries that have a high lead content and must be replaced every two to three years.

Another thing we might do is to be more energy efficient as far as electri-city consumption is concerned. We Could replace our light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent or tungsten halogen bulbs. The compact flourescent bulbs can be obtained at Home Base or Home Depot but cost from $15 to $20. They last at least ten times longer and usually draw about 75% less electricity thus lowering utility bills as much as $10 per bulb per year.

Planting of more trees and vegetation in cities would be helpful in handling the increased carbon dioxide in the cities where there is so much concrete. Third world countries such as South America could be helped by following American lumbering practices and also fertilization of the cleared land could well be improved.

Charles D. Earner, novelist (1829-1900) said' "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it". I suspect climate changes due to carbon dioxide build-up based on computer models is not very accurate and trying to change the weather by outlawing all CFC's is unlikely.

I would like to quote a statement by DrO Bernard Cohen, University of Pitts-burgh, physicist and a distinguished nuclear scientist, page 187 in Evironmental Overkilll:

"Our government's science and technology policy is now guided by uninformed and emotion-driven public opinion, rather than by sound scientific advice. Unless solutions can be found to this problem, the U.S. will enter the 21st century declining in wealth, power, and influence....The coming debacle is not due to the problems the en-vironmentalists describe, but to the policies they advocate."

Finally, Mark Twain said, "Weather is a literary speciality and no untrained hand can turn out a good article on it." (From Life on the Mississippi).

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