Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Global warming has slowed only briefly

Science starts with a hypothesis. The hypothesis I would take from Lorne Gunter's article Gore v. Gunter (which I will not give the honor of a link from here) is that global warming has stopped. This is a testable hypothesis. If it is true, we will see several indicators: earth's albedo (the amount of light reflected into space) should be increasing. Gases such as carbon dioxide and methane (which is several times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere) should also be on the decline. There are other indicators, but these will suffice to make my point.

1. Albedo is decreasing because glaciers are melting for the first time in thousands of years.
2. Albedo is increasing because contrails reflect light.
Experimentation has shown that 1 is more significant than 2.

3. Carbon dioxide emissions continue.
4. Carbon dioxide sinks (algae in the ocean, for example) are becoming saturated
5. Glaciers, as they melt, are releasing methane.

Given these facts, unless you have found some magical stash of planetary coolant, I'd say our Toyota may have run out of gas, but I see a cliff right ahead, so it's liable to pick up speed on the way down. An argument I heard against global warming 15 years ago was, "The Earth will take care of itself." It will, but it doesn't have any special concern for humans.

Before you go bashing science in the media, best check with a real scientist or two to find out how science is really done.

No comments: