Thursday, August 31, 2006

Al Gore's Fatwa against the scientific truth

In a much publicized ABC special last night, Al Gore issued a fatwa against anybody who'd challenge his views on global warming: "There is no debate!"

But it's been a busy week in the scientific world regarding the inconvenient truth about global warming:
  1. MIT's Inconvenient Scientist is an article from the Boston Globe where Richard Lindzen, meteorology professor at MIT expresses heresies such as: "We do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change. The Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940. The evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why"
  2. Another MIT researcher, Kerry Emanuel, explains how the increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes is not a real increase, but actually the result of improved observations in the satelite era, especially in the past 20-30 years. One quote: "A cyclone that hit Bangladesh in 1970 and killed up to 500,000 people is not even listed as a hurricane". Same thing should apply to most of this year tropical storms, which appeared in the middle of the Atlantic and disappeared in the middle of the Atlantic. 40 years ago, none of them would have been recorded. Read the full report here.
  3. A National Geographic article presents the research of Tessa Hill, geologist at UC Davis, which shows that a more important greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide is methane, which is naturally released from undersea rock layers. They peaked several times in history, and they might peak now. It happened 16,000 years ago, and again 11,000 ago, and there were no gas-guzzling SUV back then.
  4. Finally, let's remember a major danger of the 70s. "There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production, with serious political implications for every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. ... The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it." You might be surprised that this gloomy scenario refers to global cooling, and comes from a 1975 Newsweek cover story that helped give rise to congressional hearings that warned of an impending Ice Age that would result in worldwide famine and poverty. In the article, you can read how forcing a natural warming trend into a cooling trend (not that it would be possible) might have disastruos results.

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