The debate over global warming continues apace. On one extreme are those who deny global warming is, in fact, occurring, pointing to abnormally cold weather in the Midwest and snow in Phoenix. On the other extreme are those who have concluded that it is the existence of man that is the cause of global warming and that unless we either leave the planet or revert to caveman status, the end is surely near. A pox on both your houses.
There is statistical confirmation that the average ambient temperature has been rising — that is a fact. In contrast, the assertion that greenhouse gases (burning carbon based fuels) are the primary cause of global warming is a theory — not a fact. In fact, the recent report by an international gathering did not conclude that global warming was caused by greenhouse gases but rather concluded that all of the measured global warming could not be attributed to natural causes. That is vastly different than what is portrayed in the major newspapers.
I’ve read about as much about these facts and theories as an old retired lawyer can and I have to admit that I am confused. So could we, just once, have the following questions answered:
Let’s start with the fact of global warming:
1. Where are the stations that measure the ambient temperature of Earth?
2. What percentage of those stations are located in or adjacent to major urban areas (Let’s use areas where there are 50,000 residents or more as the definition of “urban areas”.)
3. Is there any difference between the rate of growth in warming in the urban areas versus rural areas?
4. Given that the vast majority of the Earth’s surface is either water or rural (lightly populated) areas, what ratios were used to adjust for the difference between the growth in warming for urban areas and all other areas?
5. How long has this cycle of global warming been going on?
6. Has the rate of global warming accelerated since the advent of the Industrial Age?
7. When was the last period during which Earth experienced similar warming?
8. What was the cause of the last period of warming?
For those who argue that global warming is merely cyclical, then it would mean that there are periods in history in which the global warming cycle has occurred previously. If those periods preceded the Industrial Age, it would suggest that causes other than greenhouse gases can impact global warming. If global warming has not accelerated since the advent of the Industrial Age, it would suggest that greenhouse gases are not the primary cause since carbon based fuels were not in use prior to the Industrial Age. If there is a significant difference in the ambient air temperature between urban areas and all other areas it might suggest that “global” warming is modest while the “urban” warming is a cause for concern.
And then the disappearing icecaps. In order for the scientists to know that they are melting, they must have measured them both for area and depth. Having done that, the scientist should be able to convert those lost volumes into cubic feet of water that has been converted from ice.
Okay. So here are the questions:
1. How long have the polar icecaps and glaciers been melting?
2. If the polar icecaps have been melting since prior to the advent of the Industrial Age, what caused that melting?
3. Has the rate at which the polar icecaps are melting increased since the advent of the Industrial Age?
4. Where did the water go?
5. Does the volume of water generated from melting polar icecaps equal the volume of water necessary to account for the actual rise in the oceans’ surfaces? If not, why?
6. Are there other areas of the planet in which the ice packs are growing, in either area or depth? If so, how does that volume equate to the volume of ice lost at the polar icecaps?
These aren’t difficult questions to answer. They can help all who are puzzling over the issue of global warming to sift the wheat from the chaff. The point here is that global warming is not the exclusive province of the scientists and the academicians. It is for us, the body politic, to understand and respond accordingly.
The most interesting part of this international study states that you can shut down new emissions completely and it still won’t make any difference for two hundred years — well beyond the time for those advocating dramatic change to take responsibility for their mistakes.