Thursday, June 09, 2005

Myths of Global Warming

This link was left in my comments and I found it interesting so I thought I'd the myths of Global Warming here.

Myth 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.

Fact: Temperatures have increased around urban areas (“heat islands”) which distorts the overall picture; whereas accurate satellite, balloon and long-term mountain top measurements have observed no increase at all.

Myth 2: The “hockey stick” graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature increase for 1000 years, then recently began a sudden increase.

Fact: Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the "average" global temperature has been rising at a rate of 0.6 to 0.8 degrees Celsius per 100 years; although from 1940 – 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare. The hockey stick not only ignores historical fact, but is also scientifically flawed.

Myth 3: Human produced carbon dioxide has increased over the last 100 years, adding to the Greenhouse effect, thus warming the earth.

Fact: Carbon dioxide levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout geologic time. The CO2 increase was only 0.4% over the last 50 years, rather than the 5% per 100 years quoted by Kyoto. However, as measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, CO2 levels move up and down AFTER the temperature has done so, and thus are the result of, not the cause of warming. Geological field work in recent sediments confirms this. There is solid evidence that as temperatures rise naturally and cyclically, the earth naturally produces more CO2 as a result.

Myth 4: CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.

Fact: Water vapour or clouds, which makes up on average about 3 % of the atmosphere, is the major greenhouse gas. CO2 makes up only about 3% of the greenhouse gases, or about 0.03% of the atmosphere. Moreover, because of its molecular weight and absorptive capacity, water vapour is 3000 times more effective than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Those attributing climate change to CO2 rarely mention this important fact.

Myth 5: Computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming.

Fact: Unfortunately, computer models predicting global warming are incapable of including the effects of the sun and the clouds. Further, the main cause of temperature variation is the sun. Its radiation changes all the time, partly in cyclical fashion. The number of sunspots can be correlated very closely with average temperatures on earth, e.g. the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period. Varying intensity of solar heat radiation affects the surface temperature of the oceans and the currents. Warmer ocean water expels gases, some of which is CO2.

Myth 6: The UN proved that man–made CO2 causes global warming.

Fact: In a 1996 report by the UN on global warming, two statements were deleted from the final draft. Here they are:
1) “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases.”
2) “No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to ………–made causes”

Myth 7: CO2 is a pollutant.

Fact: This is absolutely not true. In fact, CO2 is essential to life on earth. It is necessary for plant growth and its intake causes many trees and other plants to grow more vigorously.

Myth 8: Global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes.

Fact: There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claimsGrowing insurance and infrastructure repair costs, particularly in coastal areas, are sometimes claimed to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms, whereas in reality they are a function of increasing population density and escalating development value.

Myth 9: Receding glaciers and the calving of ice shelves are proof of global warming.

Fact: Glaciers have been receding for hundreds of years; that’s because we are still coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating.
It’s normal.

Myth 10: The earth’s poles are warming; polar ice caps are breaking up and melting and the sea level rising.

Fact: The earth is variable. The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer, but the eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling.

But really, who wants facts when the myths are so lovely and scary?