Thursday, October 13, 2005

Here we go again!

It's the end of the world as we know it! At least, the Washington Post thinks so. Today they had another whopper of a story about "global warming."

New international climate data show that 2005 is on track to be the hottest year on record, continuing a 25-year trend of rising global temperatures.

Climatologists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies calculated the record-breaking global average temperature, which now surpasses 1998's record by a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, from readings taken at 7,200 weather stations scattered around the world.


That's right, kids - it's a tenth of a degree warmer this year than it was seven years ago. The sky is falling!

Global temperatures this year are about 1.36 degrees Fahrenheit (0.75 Celsius) above the average between 1950 and 1980, according to the Goddard analysis. Worldwide temperatures in 1998 were 1.28 degrees Fahrenheit (0.71 Celsius) above that 30-year average. The data show that Earth is warming more in the Northern Hemisphere, where the average 2005 temperature was two-tenths of a degree above the 1998 level.

Here comes the whopper. Now, instead of just telling us that global temperatures have increased 1.1 degrees F over the past 140 years, it sounds much more dire and dangerous to compare today's temperatures to an arbitrary 30-year average! What does that mean?

Alright - so lets say that there is a pot of boiling water on a stove. It's been boiling for 3 weeks now, and you finally decide to check how hot the water is. You stick your thermometer in the water for 3 seconds and see that the temperature of the water rose during those three seconds. What do you conclude - that the water is getting hotter and hotter? Is it your fault? Why is the water heating up? Furthermore, you know for a fact that there have been times before the last 3 weeks that the water was not boiling - even times when it was completely frozen! But does that dissuade you from the assumption that the water is hot and getting hotter and it's you fault?

This is the argument with "global warming." We forget the fact that there have been dozens of ice ages that have covered the Earth over the past couple of hundred thousand years. We forget that our global temperature information starts in the 1860's and we have no information on global temperatures before that (besides the evidence of the multiple ice ages). We further forget that massive temperature changes have occurred in the history of the Earth well before our time that were completely natural! If another ice age were beginning now, would scientists prove that it was our fault?

This comparison to the 30-year average is just the latest crock. To relate it to my previous example, it's like taking another temperature measurement of the water and then comparing it to the previous 3-second sample. Is the water temperature increasing in relation to the previous sample? Yes, but this is recording a single snapshot of global temperature that is miniscule in it's comparison to global climate patterns. We are predicting the future of Earth temperatures with about .00000001% of the data.

To wrap the article up, the Post digs up some old Clinton advisor to say that reducing emissions could reduce temperature change. Actually, according to the Kyoto reports (which advocate for cutting Greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 %) a 60 to 80% reduction is needed to stop climate change. It's tough to enforce Kyoto when the multinational report advocating the reduction of emissions at the same time says that it isn't enough to make a difference anyway.

So, we have two options. 1) Believe that "global warming" is in fact caused by natural cycles in the sun's output of radiation or 2) accept that we are changing the global climate more than we can ever stop and we are going to all die very soon.

Which one will you choose?

2 comments:

Terry said...

I think your comments miss the point entirely. It really doesn't matter if the warming is natural or man-made, does it? It is happening and it will be bad for billions of people. It will be bad for businesses and communities.

There is no doubt that reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will slow the rate of global warming. You are right, it may not matter what we do, it may not be enough. But are you saying we shouldn't even try?

If a meteor were hurtling toward the earth what should we do? By your arguments, we should do nothing because (1) this is a natural phenomenon, and meteors have hit the earth in the past, and (2) If we try to stop it, we can spend trillions of dollars and only have a small chance of success (despite what we see in the movies), therefore, we shouldn't even try.

America wasn't founded by people who laid down and died without a fight. Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb by giving up when he saw it was highly unlikely he would succeed.

We are Americans! We will overcome this challenge of nature, and we will live, and thrive, and remain the greatest nation on Earth!

radar said...

terry,

You equating my statements about global warming to a meteor strike is a non sequitur. For you to make that connection you are assuming that global warming will destroy the Earth as would a meteor strike of sufficient size - this isn't true.

We should fight global warming - assuming it's not a natural phenomenon. If it is, it's a foolish move to crush our own economy to follow a treaty like Kyoto.