Determining Natural and Manmade Climate Change: Historical Review and Implications for the 1900’s and Beyond

  • Bruce Denness
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASIC, volume 325)


Global climate is forever changing over every timescale. During the past century the earth has warmed up by more than 0.5 degrees centigrade. This is largely in keeping with predictions for the greenhouse effect. Unfortunately, there have been periods of cooling during that time which must be explained by some other mechanism, i.e. short-term natural temperature changes. These natural changes confuse the interpretation of the steady greenhouse increase and have resulted in the reluctance of politicians and planners to take decisions for remedial action to accommodate expected increases in sea level and changes in the geography of drought.

Here recent models to represent natural climate change are reviewed with particular emphasis on a deterministic model which describes the variation of global temperature. The output of that model is then combined with a steadily increasing greenhouse temperature to give a composite natura and manmade global temperature which very closely matches measured changes over the past century.

The variation of local, regional and global precipitation described by the deterministic model is illustrated over various historical periods with examples from North and South America, Africa and the world as a whole. Implications for regional and global economy are discussed and comment is made on the gross global depression that the model forecasts for the 1990’s — whether or not the greenhouse effect has a substantial influence. Sea level changes are similarly reviewed and related to the model both recently and historically. Attention is drawn to accelerations of atmospheric CO2 concentration in about 1870 and 1950 according to the historical record and these are related directly to simultaneous acceleration in world Population growth.

The combination of the natural and manmade deterministic models forecasts a global temperature rise of almost 1 degree centigrade by the year 2000. Political and socio-economic implications of misinterpreting this rise as solely due to the greenhouse effect are addressed. Finally a range of practical means of containing use of fossil fuels within levels that need not exacerbate the greenhouse effect are discussed with due regard to economic considerations and secondary spin-off problems and their solution.


Global Temperature Technological Revolution Cultural Evolution Greenhouse Effect Geophysical Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnett, T.P. (1984) “The estimation of ‘global’ sea level change: a problem of uniqueness”, J. Geophys. Res. 89, pp. 7980 – 7988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Batri, R. (1987) “The great depression of 1990.”, Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Burns, J.R., & Denness, B. (1985) “Climate and social dynamics: the Tripolitanian example, 300 BC—AD 300.”, In town and Country in Roman Tripolitania, Buck, D.J. and Mattingley, D.J. (eds.), British Archaeological Reports, Int. Ser. 274, Oxford, pp. 201 – 225Google Scholar
  4. Callander G.S. (1958) “On the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”, Tellus, 10, pp. 243 – 248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Croll, J. (1875) Climate and time, Appleton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Denness, B. (1981) “How to build an ocean.”, Proc. IEEE Conf. Oceans ’81, Boston, pp. 341 – 344Google Scholar
  7. Denness, B (1982) “Slope stability—Are rainfall-induced landslips predictable?”, Proc. 7th Southeast Asian Geot. Conf., Hong Kong, 1, pp. 71 – 72Google Scholar
  8. Denness, B . (1983 a) “From seabed to the skies.”, Northern Executive, 1, pp. 77–78Google Scholar
  9. Denness, B . (1983 b) “The economy/climate link in 2000 AD.”, Northern Executive, 2, pp. 117–118Google Scholar
  10. Denness, B . (1983 c) “Economic climate.”, Financial Weekly, 252, p. 10Google Scholar
  11. Denness, B. (1984 a) “The greenhouse affair.”, Marine Pollution Bull., 15 (10), pp. 355–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Denness, B . ( 1984 b) “An analytical climate model: application to the southern hemisphere Quaternary period.”, Vogel, J. (ed.) Proc. SASQUA Int. Symp. on Late Cainozoic Palaeoclimates of the Southern Hemisphere, Swaziland, Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 35 – 42Google Scholar
  13. Denness, B . ( 1984c) “The coincidence of a general climate model and historical climatic observations in east Asia.”, Whyte, R.O. (ed.) Proc. Int. Conf. on The Evolution of the East Asian Environment, 1: Geology and Palaeoclimatology, Hong Kong, Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong Press, pp. 199 – 219Google Scholar
  14. Denness, B . (1984 d) “The energy-economy-climate link.”, Energy Exploration and Exploitation, 3 (1), pp. 61–69Google Scholar
  15. Denness, B. ( 1985 a) “Water resource forecasting.”, Proc 4th IAHR Conf. on Water Resources Development and Management, II, Chiang Mai, Thailand, pp. 1177 – 1194Google Scholar
  16. Denness, B . (1985 b) “The greenhouse dilemma.”, in Nature, 318, p. 596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Denness, B. (1986a) “Water: supply and demand forecasting.”, Proc. Conf. World Water 86, ICE, LondonGoogle Scholar
  18. Denness, B . (1986 b) “Water Level.”, New Scientist, 1459, p. 59Google Scholar
  19. Denness, B. (1987) “Sea level modelling: the past and the future.”, Prog. Oceanog., 18, pp. 41 – 59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Denness, B . (1989 a) “The variation of the Universal Gravitational Constant and the distribution of earthquakes in China through time and space.”, Seismology and Geology, The Seismological Press, Beijing, II (2), pp. 53–65Google Scholar
  21. Denness, B . (1989 b) “Evolution and environmental determinism.”, Modern Geology, 13, pp. 283–286Google Scholar
  22. Hansen, J., Johnson, D., Lacis, A., Lebedeff, A., Lees, P., Rind, D., & Russell, G. (1981) “Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.”, in Science, 213, pp. 957–966CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Imbrie, J., & Imbrie, K.P. (1979) “Ice ages: solving the mystery.”, MacMillan Press, New York, 224 p.Google Scholar
  24. Jelgersma, S . (1966) “Sea level changes in the last 10,000 years.”, in Sawyer, J.S. (ed.) Proc. Int. Symp. on World Climate from 8000-0 BC, Royal Met. Soc., London, pp. 54 – 69Google Scholar
  25. Jones, P.D., & Wigley, T.M.L. (1980) “Northern hemisphere temperatures, 1881–1979.”, Climate Monitor, CRU, University of East Anglia, Norwich, 9, pp. 43 – 47Google Scholar
  26. Keeling, C.D., Bacastow, R.B., & Whorf, T.P. (1982) “Measurement of the concentration of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii.”, in Clark, W.C. (ed.) Carbon Dioxide Review: 1982, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 377 – 385Google Scholar
  27. Klein, W.H. (1982) “Detecting carbon dioxide effects on climate.”, in Clark, W.C. (ed.) Carbon Dioxide Review: 1982, Oxford University Press, New York, pp 215 – 242Google Scholar
  28. Klige, R.L.K. (pers. comm., 1989 ) Advice at NATO Research Workshop, Fuerte Ventura, Spain, 1–7 March, 1989.Google Scholar
  29. Lamb, H.H. (1977) “Climate: present, past and future.”, 2, Climatic History and the Future, Methuen, London, 835 p.Google Scholar
  30. Liss, P.S., & Crane, A.J. (1983) Manmade carbon dioxide and climatic change: a review of scientific problems, Geo Books, NorwichGoogle Scholar
  31. Machta, L (1979) “Atmospheric measurements of carbon dioxide.”, in Elliott, W.P., and Machta, L (eds.) Workshop on the Global Effects of Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, D.C., pp. 44 – 50Google Scholar
  32. Meyer, F., & Vallee, J. (1975) Technological forecasting and social change, 7, pp. 285–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Milankovich, M. (1938) “Astronomische Mittel zur Erforschung der Erdgeschichtlichen Klimate.”, Gutenberg, B (ed.) Handbuch der Geophysik, 9, Berlin, pp. 593 – 698Google Scholar
  34. Moore, B., Boone, R.D., Hobbie, J.E., Houghton, R.A., Medillo, J.M., Petersen, B.J., Shavers, G.R., Vorosmarty, C.J., & Woodwell, G.M. (1981) “A simple model for analysis of the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global carbon budget.”, in Bolin, B. (ed.) Scope 16 - Carbon Cycle Modelling, John Whiley, Chichester, pp. 365 – 385Google Scholar
  35. Mörner, N.A . (1980) “The Fennoscandian uplift: geological data and the geodynamical implication.”, in Mörner, M.A. (ed.) Earth Rheology, Isostasy and Eustasy, John Whiley, Chichester, pp. 251 – 284Google Scholar
  36. Pirazzoli, P. (pers. comm., 1989 ) Advice at NATO Research Workshop, Fuerte Ventura, Spain, 1–7 March, 1989Google Scholar
  37. Shackleton, N.J., & Cita, M.B. (1979) “Oxygen and Carbon isotope stratigraphy of benthic foraminifera at Site 379: detailed history of climate change during the late Neogene.”, in Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, U.S. Governmental Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 47, pp. 433 – 445Google Scholar
  38. Wetherald, R.T., & Manabe, S. (1981) “Influenceof seasonal variation upon the sensitivity of a model climate.”, J. Geophys. Res., 86, pp. 1194 – 1204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wigley, T.M.L., Jones, P.D., & Kelly, P.M. (1980) “Scenario for a warm, high CO2world”, in Nature,283, pp. 17–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Davidson, S.M. (1985) “Population growth.”, in Nature, 314, p. 398Google Scholar
  41. Denness, B. (1986 a) “The Earth is alive and well—fact or fiction?”, Proc. Audubon Living Earth Symp., Amherst, Mass., Aug. 1985, 23, pp. 1 – 9Google Scholar
  42. Denness, B. (1986 b) “A general ecological distribution law.”, Proc. Audubon Living Earth Symp., Amherst, Mass., Aug. 1985, 21, pp. 1 – 16Google Scholar
  43. Denness, B. (1986 c) “Population growth: the human example.”, Proc. Audubon Living Earth Symp., Amherst, Mass., Aug. 1985, 22, pp. 1 – 20Google Scholar
  44. Denness, B . (1986 d) “A low priority for demographic study at home.”, I.W. County Press, 5280, p. 11Google Scholar
  45. Denness, B. (1987) “Sea level modelling: the past and the future.”, Prog. Oceanog., 18, pp. 41 – 59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Flew, A. (1957) Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 35, pp. 1 – 20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hayton, A.F. (1984) “Of plants and men.”, in Nature, 310, p. 178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lovelock, J.E. (1979) Gaia: a new look at life on Earth, Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  49. McEvedy, C. & Jones, R. (1978) Atlas of World Population History, Allen Lane, LondonGoogle Scholar
  50. Meyer, F. (1958) L’Encyclopedie Française, Paris, 20, p. 24Google Scholar
  51. Meyer F., & Vallee, J. (1975) Technological forecasting and social change, 7, pp. 285 – 300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Shinozaki, K., & Kira, T. (1956) J. Inst. Polytech., Osaka City Univ., D7, p. 35Google Scholar
  53. Taagepera, R. (1976) “Crisis around 2500 AD? A technology-population interaction model.”, General Systems, XXI, pp. 137 – 138Google Scholar
  54. Tanner, J.M. (1978) Foetus into man: physical growth from conception to maturity, Open Books, London.Google Scholar
  55. Todaki, Y., & Shidei, T. (1959) J. Jap. For. Soc., 41, p. 341Google Scholar
  56. von Foester, H., Mora, P.M., & Amiot, L.W. (1960) Science, 132, pp. 1291 – 1295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. White, J. (1981) J. Theor. Biol., 89, pp. 475 – 500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Whittington, R. (1984) “Laying down the-3/2 law.”, in Nature, 311, p. 217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Yoda, K., Kira, T., Ogawa, H., & Homuzi, K. (1963) J. Biol., Osaka City Univ., 14, p. 107Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Denness
    • 1
  1. 1.Bureau of Applied SciencesWydcombe ManorWhitwell, Isle of WightEngland

Personalised recommendations