Climate change: going the wrong way?
Those who live on the political left, in their never-ending quest to gain control of and restrict capitalist economies, are ferocious proponents of the theory that man’s carbon dioxide emissions are causing Global Warming. They insist the warming will be catastrophic by the year 2100. Oceans will rise, flooding out coastal cities. Arctic and Antarctic sea ice will sharply diminish. Glaciers are shrinking. Continental ice sheets will diminish (which accounts for most of the ocean level rise) Arctic permafrost will disappear, and this will make the Earth’s temperature rise even faster. Crops will fail as rainy areas become dry. Entire populations will starve.
The scientists (often very liberal) no longer call it Global Warming, because the average Earth temperature hasn’t increased for 15 years, since 1998. They now call it Climate Change. Here’s a link to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times: Global Warming hiatus. Many of the scientists are bothered by the fact that it has remained flat for such a long time, but won’t admit defeat. When a storm shows up which is more powerful than average, they say it’s due to Climate Change. When a huge snowstorm blankets a city, it’s due to Climate Change.
The advocates maintain that there is a consensus among weather scientists that man is causing Climate Change. Yet, the public receives mixed signals. There are many stories on both sides. There are scientists who dissent, and they seem to have convincing arguments. It’s very confusing to the public, or at least, to me.
In addition to temperature average of the entire globe, there are other factors which are used to argue for or against Global Warming, such as:
Regional hot or cold spells: the past winter high and low temperatures were mostly below normal here in Leavenworth, for example, from March to May. January and February were about normal. Spring was a bit late in arriving. During that time, most people probably thought the world was cooling, not heating up. But the previous winter here was above normal.
Sea ice extent: The extent of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is often held to be an important indicator of warming or cooling. More warming, less ice; more cooling, more ice. According to some scientists, the sea ice extent has been shrinking by about 12% every ten years since the late 1970’s. But this year, the minimum ice area after summer melting was much larger than last summer’s, after a much cooler Arctic summer. Arctic sea ice minimum 2013.
At the bottom of the world, Antarctic sea ice extent has been growing (!!) since 1979 and is now as of August 2013 the highest on record. (records only go back to the beginning of satellites, about the 1970’s.) Antarctic-sea-ice-extent-breaking-all-records/. Of course, Global Warming scientists blame the increased sea ice on Global Warming!
Continental ice: Greenland is an ice-covered, very cold island. The amount of ice cover there is said to have shrunk, and of course the water released raises sea level. The continental ice over both Arctic and Antarctic areas is an important indicator of how warm or cold the Earth’s weather is. However, it is more an indicator of how much snow has fallen there, as long as it doesn’t warm too much. In summer of 2013, Greenland’s ice melted at a much lower rate than the previous year. http://nsidc.org/greenland-today/. But here’s chilling news: the Antarctic ice sheets over land have been shrinking, over the past 50 years, at the highest rate in the past thousand years. Antarctic continental ice melt.
Sun spots: Sunspots are magnetic storms on the surface of the sun. The storms radiate immense amounts of energy, affecting how much energy the Earth receives. Believe it or not, records on sunspots go back to as early as the 1600’s, although not regularly plotted until 1849. There was a period of 30 years, from about 1645 to 1715, when one scientist, Sporer, counted only 50 spots. This is called the “Maunder Minimum.” The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle—and coldest part—of the Little Ice Age. Other measurements, such as Carbon-14, confirm the lack of solar activity. The strong correlation of lack of solar activity to Earth’s temperature backs the consensus that sunspots affect the Earth’s temperature.
Recently, some diehard scientists have cast doubt on the generally accepted theory, because the current trend is sunspots is way down, and that would work against Global Warming. Sunspots run in an 11-year cycle, rising to a peak and dropping to a low, and right now we are supposed to be at a peak, but it’s looking more like a low. We are currently in cycle 24, but the count is falling off and is only about half what is was at the peak for cycle 23, which happened in 2002. Some scientists fear a cooler period is on the way.
Global Warming advocates are mostly liberal, so there is natural doubt on their veracity. The doubt grew a great deal due to “Climategate”, in which scientists were discovered to have falsified data to back up Global Warming claims.
Global Warming has been politicized. Those who argue against it are often demonized. The Earth probably is warming in the long term, but is that due to man’s activity? Can man do anything whatever to stop it, or must we ride out the Earth’s natural climate cycles?
Here’s an excellent summary of the topic in Forbes Magazine on the politicization of global warming. Brrr! It's cold in here.