For all my lefty liberal friends, who dared me to write this!
There are two separate, but related issues to consider when discussing global warming: Is global warming a reality, and is global warming a result of human activity? Answering these questions has proven to be very difficult. “Experts” have lined up on both sides of the issue, and have accused their opponents of using junk science to support their position.
The evidence is mounting that says, yes, global warming is occurring. Conversely, there is evidence that is contraindicative to global warming. There has been evidence that the oceans are warming and evidence the oceans are cooling. There is also evidence that glaciers are melting, and that air temperatures are increasing and there is evidence converse to this. It is tempting to make a premature leap from “warming is a reality; a naturally occurring phenomena” to “humans are causing global warming.” (Lerner et al, 2006).
As research continues, there is mounting evidence that man’s contribution to the problem is minimal. Significant increases in geothermal activity at the oceans floor is a contributing factor to the increase in ocean temperatures. As the water temperature increases, ice caps and glaciers, which are a cooling mechanism for the oceans, melt. Warming oceans would also account for increased air temperatures and changes in the weather patterns over the oceans. The warming oceans also give off many gasses that are classified as “greenhouse gasses” that are attributed to man’s activity (Lerner, 2006).
It has been quite some time since the biodegradable craze infected us with countless forms of recycling campaigns. As we with lightning speed merge into the “technocratic society” that is soon to dominate the globe, it is becoming more commonplace to take care of most paper transactions with our computers (Abrams, 2006). Most of us modern techies have switched to online banking as well as online bill-pay practices by now. In addition, many people are pushing hybrid cars and ethanol-as-fuel, as the answer for our climate crisis. All of this activity is taking place as some aspect of our “Save the Planet” campaign kicks into full gear. But is the planet really an endangered place? And are humans really an endangered species? Doomsayers have occupied their “Cassandra-like” forebodings in our world in every age, since time immemorial anyway. While those doomsayers of yesterday are no longer here, the planet, much doomed as they have all once predicted, continues to twirl quite consistently in orbit (Abrams, 2006; Lerner, 2006).
Top Ten Misconceptions Concerning Global Warming…
1. Contrary to the popular belief that glaciers all over the world are melting, in some places they are actually growing. In both Iceland and Greenland, the first half of the twentieth century was warmer than the second half. In Iceland, most glaciers lost mass after 1930 because temperatures temporarily rose by .6 degrees Celsius. But since then the climate has gotten colder, and since 1970 the glaciers have been growing, including eleven glaciers which are surging in size (Chylek, et al., 2004)
2. Opposing mainstream supposition, Antarctica is not melting. Only the Antarctic Peninsula (a relatively small portion of the continent) is melting, but the continent as a whole is getting colder and the ice is growing thicker…in fact:
a. From 1986 to 2000 central Antarctic valleys cooled .7 degrees Celsius per decade with serious ecosystem damage from the cold (Doran, et al, 2002).
b. Side-looking radar measurements show West Antarctica ice is increasing at 26.8 gigatons/year, thus reversing the melting trend of the last 6,000 years (Joughlin et al, 2002).
c. Antarctic sea ice has been readily increasing since 1979 (Lui et al, 2004).
d. The greater part of Antarctica experiences a longer sea-ice season, lasting 21 days longer than it did in 1979 (Parkinso, 2002).
3. In 1988 James Hansen, a prominent climatologist, radically announced his postulation of global warming. He predicted temperatures would rise by .35 degrees Celsius over the next ten years. The actual increase was .11 degrees Celsius (less than 1/10 of a degree). After ten years, Hansen claimed that the forces which administrate climate changes are so inadequately understood that long-term prediction is almost unfeasible, “The forces that drive long-term climate change are not known with accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” His prediction was off by nearly 300%, indicating that scientists remain to speculate their predictions concerning global warming (Hansen, 1998).
4. An abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere actually stimulates plant growth (Pearce, 2002).
5. Deserts in Africa are factually shrinking (Pearce, 2002).
6. A presumed effect of global warming is an influx in the introduction of new diseases; along with exacerbating present diseases such as Malaria, Ebola and Influenza. Conversely, the rate of emerging diseases has not increased since 1960 (Reiter, 2004).
7. There are approximately 160,000 glaciers occupying the Earth’s oceans. Roughly 67,000 have been actually inventoried, recorded, and categorized. Only a handful has been studied. There is mass balance data extending approximately five years for merely 79 of the inventoried glaciers. Therefore, whether or not they are all melting is simply hypothetical (Kieffer, 2005).
8. The belief that Mt. Kilimanjaro is thawing because of global warming is false, based only in erroneous speculation. It has been melting since the 1800s, long before “global warming.” Furthermore, there is no recorded warming trend at the altitude of the Kilimanjaro glacier. It is melting because of deforestation at the base of the mountain which diminishes the moist air blowing upward (Kaser, 2004).
9. Stop building your ark, sea levels are not rising faster due to global warming. For the past 6,000 years the sea level has been steadily rising at a rate of 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches) every one hundred years. There is no recorded, corroborated evidence that sea levels have been rising more rapidly because of global warming. In fact, the North Pacific has been calculated as rising, but the South Pacific has ebbed several millimeters in recent years (Parkinso, 2002).
10. The theory of global warming surmises that the Earth’s temperature has been rising steadily for the past one hundred years owed to rising CO2 and other emissions. The reality is that at the beginning of 1880 (the beginning of the hypothesized temperature rise) was the end of what many scientists referred to as the “mini ice-age.” Where, for nearly four hundred years, the Earth had steadily cooled. The theory also presupposes that the greatest change in temperature occurred during the height of global industrialization (generally the 1940s through the 1970s). Nevertheless, temperature graphs show that:
a. From 1940 through 1970, CO2 rose moderately, yet the Earth’s overall temperature essentially cooled.
b. The temperature in the United States peaked in the mid-1930s, cooled for about 60 years, and now has risen, slightly, although still not at the record heights of the 1930s.
c. More of these graphs show that while large urban areas have placid increases in temperature, an abundance of rural areas have cooled within the past 150-200 years. This is also true worldwide. In specifics is New York City, which has increased in temperature about four degrees Fahrenheit since 1822, yet Albany, which is immediately north of New York City (in terms of geography), has marginally cooled a degree in the past 180 years. This indicates no radical fluctuation in climate, as the gradient is to a certain extent insignificant (these graphs are available at http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp).
Today, we are urged to believe that within the next few decades the globe will become insufferably warmer. The world as we know it will be radically distorted unless we (the People?) act now to reverse our errant lifestyles, especially our inefficient energy practices.
But wait! Aren’t we all just fundamentally being pressured to trust in a long-range climate forecast? And isn’t this pressure, for the most part, being applied by politicians and political organizations? Who today would bet serious money on a weather prediction made a month in advance…let alone decades into the future? Yet, developed nations across the globe are investing hundreds of billions of dollars on a climate “prophecy” when worldwide financial stability flounders (Sadar et al, 2009).
So then, how do we get to know the real truth about global warming? Do we trust the views of scientists? Or of politicians? Or of industrialists? Al Gore? Michael Moore?
Who do we trust? Perhaps the Founder of the Weather Channel?
Abrams, Harry, 2006. “World Changing: A User’s Guide to the 21stCentury.” New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Doran, P.T., Priscu, J.C. Lyons, W.B. Walsh, J.E., Fountain, A.G. McKnight, D.M. Moorhead, D.L. Virginia, R.A. Wall, D.H. Clow, G.D. Fritsen, C.H. Mckay, C.P. and Parson, A.N. 2002. “Antarctic Climate Cooling and Terrestrial Ecosystem Response.” Nature: Vol. 415: 517-20
Hansen, James and Sato, Makiko 1998. “Climate Forces in the Industrial Era.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Vol. 95
Joughlin, I., and Tulaczyk, S. 2002. “Positive Mass Balance of the Ross Ice Streams, West Antarctica.” Science Vol. 295: 476-80
Kaser, Jason 2004 “Modern Glacier Retreat on Kilimanjaro as Evidence of Climate Change: Observations and Facts.” International Journal of Climatology Vol. 24, 329-39
Kieffer, H. 2000, “New Eyes in the Sky Measure Glaciers and Ice Sheets,” American Geo-physical Union Vol. 81: pg 265, 270-71. Also Braithwaite, R.J. and Zhang, Y. 2000. “Relationships Between Inter-annual Variability of Glacier Mass Balance and Climate,” Journal of Glaciology Vol. 45, pg 456-62.
Lerner, K. Lee; Lerner, K. Lee; Wilmoth, Brenda 2006. “Environmental Issues: Essential Primary Sources.” Thomson Gale Press.
Liu, J., Curry, J.A., and Martinson, D.G. 2004. “Interpretation of Recent Antarctic Sea Ice Variability.” Geophysical Research Letters 31: 10.1029/2003 GLO18732
Parkinso C.L. 2002 “Trends in the Length of the Southern Ocean Sea-Ice Season, 1979-99.” Annals of Glaciology: Webpage: http://www.smithsophian.com/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=913e4c44-7fb2-4b1c-990b-783e4eb3e66d April 26th, 2010
Pearce, Fredrick 2002. “Africans Go Back to the Land as Plants Reclaim the Desert.” The New Scientist Vol. 175, Issue 21, pg 4-5
Petr Chylek, M.K. Dubey, and G. Lesins 2004. “Global Warming and the Greenland Ice Sheet.” Webpage: http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Chylek/greenland_warming.html April 26th, 2010
Reiter, Paul 2004. “Global Warming and Malaria: a Call for Accuracy.” The Lancet: Webpage:
Sader, Anthony and Cammarata, Susan 2009. “Sadar/Cammarate: In Global Warming We Trust” The Washington Times. Webpage: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/23/in-global-warming-we-trust/ April 27th, 2010