Saturday, August 05, 2006

More on Global Warming

Self-declared prophet and weatherman Pat Robertson says he believes in global warming because it is hot outside. No matter what one believes about global warming (believes is the right word; very few do research on both sides of the debate) using day-to-day weather is a bad way to reach conclusions about climate change (and having Pat Robertson on your side does not help either).

For over the past one-hundred years scientists have been claiming the world is either getting warmer or colder. The 1920s and 30s were unusually warm and dry to the point dust bowls were common in the American Midwest. The heat wave of 1930 was hotter than the current one in the United States. The hot period in the mid-century was noticed by the scientific community and in "The Present Climatic Fluctuation," Hans W:Son Ahlmann in The Geographical Journal (Vol 112, 1948 - Part of Catholicgauze's Personal Stash) wrote about rapidly diminishing glaciers and other effects of global warming. Ahlmann finished his article about the benefits climate change offers to mankind.

But in the 1970s things changed. Global Cooling became all the rage. Time Magazine even published an article about the chances of another ice age. Things flip-flopped again in the late 1980s with Global Warming. Now in the late 00's evidence is showing that global warming is happening on other planets.

So what am I trying to say? I am trying to show that "scientific consensus" has changed over time. Climate change may or may not be real. The climate may be in a flux period or it may be in a correction. What causes climate change is also unknown. Finally, how many times have we heard it is too late. Why seriously handicap the economny and world development if the ship is doomed. Everyone needs to calm down and take a second look at things.

The major problem lies with people who get so wrapped-up in the issue and harden their hearts to other points-of-view. When I was at Harm de Blij's National Geographic Lecture some people were vocally enraged afterwards when de Blij (a believer in climate change) did not agree with the belief global warming is solely man-made. Some environmentalists make the environment their religion and those who dissent become heretics. On the other side, those who do not even consider another Little Ice Age-type era risk being caught without a contingency plan.

Category: Physical Geography

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