Friday, December 21, 2007


Unanswered Questions

Science correspondent David Whitehouse, over at the New Statesman, asks the central question one would ask after looking at the reliable record of average temperature from satellite measurements (graph above)--Has Global Warming stopped? Certainly since the spike above the mean in 1998, there hasn't been any warming. I hate to be the sceptic here, but about a decade or so is just not enough time on which to base a trend. He is right to say that global climate is much more complicated than the rise of one minor gas equalling the rise of global temperature. But he may be wrong to say that he can't believe mitigating factors are keeping the temperature down. Certainly those mitigating factors might be. He makes up for it at the end.

I have heard it said, by scientists, journalists and politicians, that the time for argument is over and that further scientific debate only causes delay in action. But the wish to know exactly what is going on is independent of politics and scientists must never bend their desire for knowledge to any political cause, however noble.
The science is fascinating, the ramifications profound, but we are fools if we think we have a sufficient understanding of such a complicated system as the Earth’s atmosphere’s interaction with sunlight to decide. We know far less than many think we do or would like you to think we do. We must explain why global warming has stopped.
UPDATE: So much for the consensus. This article counts the substantial number of prominent scientists around the world who dispute the party line on anthropogenic global warming. However, a true thing is still true, even if 6 billion people don't believe it, and an untrue thing is still untrue, even if 6 billion people do believe it. Consensus doesn't enter into it.


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