Thursday, January 20, 2005

Global Warming

The debate over Global Warming has been heating up, so-to-speak, and we at the LTS have been following the developments with keen interest. On the one hand, we have what seems to be a majority of the scientific community accepting as fact the the view that global warming is a primarily a human-caused reality through our burning of fossil fuels and the subsequent release of CO2 in the atmosphere. On the other hand, there is a significant yet minority body of scientists who believe that the Earth's climate is far too complex to fully understand, let alone make definitive statements about what we should do or not do about it. That the atmosphere is getting slightly warmer there is no doubt, but concensus has not, in our view, been reached on whether this is a natural or human induced condition.

The "Bible" on global warming from the majority view is the Third Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. The IPCC is a UN-sponsored organization charged with investigating global warming and its causes. This report (the 4th is due soon) says essentially that the Earth is warming, and that human activity is primarily responsible. The IPCC and their reports are the basis for the Kyoto Protocols, an international treaty not yet (and not likely to be) ratified by the United States. [For more detail the IPCC website has links to all their reports.]

However, new research has lead some scientists to suggest other causes of global warming. One possible alternative is solar activity, usually sunspot activity. Increased sun spot activity coincides with past warm periods, and could be part or all of the warming source seen today.

Another alternative could be changes in ocean temperatures as known currents shift. Changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Decadal Oscillation (SDO), and others can raise or lower atmospheric temperatures.

Some climatologists claim that the models used to predict climate change are seriously flawed, and don't accurately take into account aerosols in the atmosphere.

This a complex debate, and since we are not scientists we can only report what we see, hear, and read about the subject. We will continue to report on this important subject as the situation warrants.

Some links that can help inform on this important subject:


Reid Bryson

Competitive Edge Institute

IPCC Scientist withdraws from panel under protest

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could I recommend that you include the site on your list.
This is the blog of a Canadian chap who has looked into the mathematics of the Mann Bradley Hughes study that is featured so heavily in the IPCC's Third Assessment Report (widely known as the Hockey Stick), and found it fatally flawed.
His blog attracts a rather more scientific audience than the cheerleaders I keep seeing on RealClimate.