Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Global Warming Evidence: Positive vs Negative, and Why You Should Listen to the Scientists not the Pundits

People react to the "now" ignorantly, personally, and opportunistically, so hot temperatures and wildfires breed cries of "global warming is upon us" by the ignorant and by those whose job it is to promote an agenda (most notably environmentalist groups and individuals like Al Gore, notably a politician but NOT a scientist), and  in the snowy winter of  '09-'10 many ignorantly supposed that the climate was actually getting colder, while some with an agenda cried "12 inches of global warming" (Virginia GOP) and "Al Gore's new home" (Sen. Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) family, building a snow igloo in D.C.).

Michelle Malkin correctly points out the ephemeral nature of weather as noted by reputable scientists: (Global Warming Blame-ologists Play with Fire By Michelle Malkin, Jul 06, 2012). Unfortunately she does not point out that those on BOTH sides of the issue choose to use weather to support their own agendas, as I noted above.

"Global Warming" is a political football, as is "Climate Change" now, too. Rarely mentioned, especially by those who proudly count themselves as "deniers," is that global warming is why we are where we are now as a civilization, mainly because we are in an "interglacial" period during the current ice age, between glaciations, so for now the Earth has a largely temperate climate that is very friendly to us. The current debate is actually about whether humans are speeding up the process (anthropogenic global warming) or not.

"Climate Change" is not a synonym for global warming, either, because of course the climate can get colder, cold enough for a new ice age to occur, as well as get warmer, but many in the media and in special interest groups are using it as such.

Climate change was not scientifically established as a "fact" until about a hundred years ago, largely through research done by the scientist Ellsworth Huntington. Subsequently, exhaustive research has shown that Earth's climate has changed a great many times over the aeons, and that in our current age, the Quaternary, Earth has gone through several cycles of glaciation and interglacial warmings. A link has been established, theoretically at least, between the location of a land mass over a pole (such as Antarctica is now) and a cycle of glaciations like we currently find ourselves in.

This means that whether or not humans are "causing" or influencing global warming we are likely headed towards another glaciation period. "When" is yet to be determined.

Immediate effects are pertinent, however, because we live in the "now." Warming or cooling NOW can affect our lives in many ways, such as where we can grow crops and thus our ability to feed ourselves, where we can live, the availability of fresh water.

A body of evidence exists supporting increases in surface temperatures over several decades, but does not really show the cause, if there is even only one. Often there are multiple causes for a particular effect, and climate is a very complicated thing about which to determine cause and effect. Indeed, we know from evidence that a "global warming" event can increase the size of some glaciers even while most are reduced in size. And global warmings and coolings can be ephemeral, too. The "Medieval Warm Period" and the "Little Ice Age" each only lasted 300 and 500 years respectively, a mere pixel in the overall image of the Earth's existence.

There remains much to find out about climate change and its causes and effects. Careful scientific research can tell us much, eventually. Short term, there is no harm in living "greener" and there are a great many benefits. If we foul our own nest, the Earth will eventually clean it up but we won't be around to see that happen, and it's unlikely any humans will if we befoul the Earth extensively. It would be a good idea to try to live responsibly and enjoy the fruits of the Earth NOW.

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