Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling!

Global Warming

January 29, 2006

There was a long article today in the Washington Post about global warming entitled, “Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change” [], screaming that the sky is falling, once again. They use the term “most scientist agree” as though that means anything at all, which it doesn’t. There are actually a small minority of so-called scientists that agree with the position stated in this article. First of all, is global warming happening; and if so, what is causing it?

It does seem as though some of the worlds largest and oldest glaciers are receding. Weather patterns also seem to be changing, insofar as we can tell what a normal weather pattern is. So, perhaps there is some reason to think that the Earth is going through some change. OK, so what? The Earth has been going through changes for eons and probably will continue to do so for eons to come. It’s done that before people walked the Earth and has done it several times since. In fact, change seems to be the norm for the climate if the Earth. Why would people start thinking that we have anything to do with it now; and why do they think we can do anything about it at all? Greenhouse emissions are down considerably (at least in this and other Western industrial countries) since the sixties, yet whatever is changing continues unabated.

The first thing we need to understand about all these changes is that it is the sun that drives them. Our sun, Sol, goes through all sorts of changes, sometimes involving cycles that last tens, even hundreds of thousands of years. We cannot possibly do anything to affect the cycles of the sun. Only the severest megalomaniac would think otherwise. That this (possible) current climatic change is originating from the sun is evidenced by the fact that even Mars is experiencing the same phenomenon. NASA has reported that, since measurements started some decades ago, the Martian ice-caps have been receding by 10-20 meters per Martian year (about two Earth years). Are the ‘Chicken Littles’ of the Washington Times intimating that the greenhouse gasses produced here also affecting the Martian climate? That is blatantly preposterous!

While it is true that a continued warming trend here on Earth would be catastrophic, especially for the coastal regions of the world; it is simply silly to say that we, or any group of countries, are to blame. Were we to discontinue the burning of any fuels and huddle in caves, the sun would continue to cycle through its current phase and the world will, or will not, continue to get warmer depending on the length of the solar cycle. The glaciers would continue to melt and the coasts will be flooded if the sun continues to warm. What would be gained but ceasing to be warm and mobil?

What we need to do is get realistic about what is happening, and especially why it’s happening, and make plans to salvage what can be salvaged from the threatened areas. Plans for evacuating the coastal cities of the world should be made now, before it’s too late. The task will be monumental and costly beyond anything ever undertaken by mankind since Noah built his ark. So monumental, in fact, that people are refusing to see the obvious and will continue to blame the industrial Nations of the world until it’s too late and millions of people are displaced, drowned, and/or world-wide panic ensues.

Going around saying that the sky is falling will be as effective as it was for Chicken Little.

That's what I think; and I'm Ichabod Crane!


Random Images Art said...

One thing I do know about global warming. We have yet to have any kind of real winter here in the southeastern United States this winter season. For the most part, it has felt like early spring. Scary!

krc said...

There is a scientifically based consensus is that global warming is real and driven in large part by human emissions of carbon. See, for instance, the 2001 report by the , whose Summary for Policymakers states: "Globally it is very likely that the 1990s was the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in the instrumental record (1861–2000) .... There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities." Note that the structure of the IPCC, involving hundreds of scientist from around the world, multiple reviews for scientific balance and accuracy, as well as input from national governments, ensures that the report accurately reflects the scientific consensus of climate research.

As for your contention that greenhouse gas concentrations are falling, please cite evidence. I'll note here that the IPCC's Summary for Policymakers (on the basis of evidence) sees things quite differently: "The atmospheric concentrations of key anthropogenic greenhouse gases (i.e., carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and tropospheric ozone (O3)) reached their highest recorded levels in the 1990s, primarily due to the combustion of fossil fuels, agriculture, and land-use changes."

Note also the findings of the 2001 report,
Climate Change Science, written by the US's own National Academy of Sciences, written in response to specific questions from the White House concerning uncertainty in climate change science. It's conclusion? Check out the first line of the summary report: "Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise."

Lastly, the idea that Mar's polar caps are melting is false -- one is shrinking, but the other is growing. These simply represent seasonal variations in Martian weather, not a long term warming trend like we're seeing here on Earth.

The scientific consensus is that Climate change is real, and is being driven by human activities.

Ichabod Crane said...

To krc,
I'll admit that my basis for saying that greenhouse gasses being down is primarily anecdotal, I can keep my eyes open in Anaheim, CA these days; whereas I couldn't in the sixties.
My hesitancy in the whole climate change scenario being man-made, however, is based on reports by other NASA scientists who are saying that not only has Mars been experiencing global warming but so has Pluto! Here are a few links where you can read a bit more on that:
Addendum January 30, 2006:
Tells of the Martian icecaps melting at a rate of three meters per Martian year.
Tells of the warming, not only on Earth and Mars, but on Pluto as well!
There is, unfortunately, a huge political element involved with this whole debate where only one side of the issue is being presented. I had heard about the Martian polar caps receding several months ago, yet it was hard finding those stories when I started more research earlier this evening (and discovered those links). It seems like this story is what is being suppressed; the other seems to be getting out there just fine, along with complaint about IT being suppressed.
The Earth has gone through these changes over and over even before people came down from the trees; why should it be different now, just because Greenpeace talks loudly? Maybe it is that hot air that's driving this one? … but I digress.
I just thought other ideas should be examined, especially as it has, as I said, happened too many times to count in the past.