Let’s make this simple. For our purposes, earth is a very large spaceship with many rooms. Correspondingly the sun is like a large gas furnace that can put out many gazillions of BTUs. If one part of the spaceship is too cold, then another part of the spaceship is going to be too hot. If one part of the globe is getting too much rain, then another may be experiencing a drought. Our metaphorical rooms we are in here on the east coast are currently colder than most artic regions, and accordingly, there is another place on the globe that is much hotter than normal.
All this said, the real lunacy here is that some individuals still choose to ignore the indisputable scientific research so as to take this current weather aberration as proof that global warming (which should be called global climate change) does not exist. Let’s look at the chart of earth’s temperature over the last 100 years.
As you can see from the chart, the temperature of earth has risen almost 1 degree Celsius (1.8 F) over the last 100+ years. Some people believe that this is a result of natural forces. One can not totally dismiss this idea unless one studies long-term temperature changes on our planet. With the removal of natural disasters such as volcanos, earthquakes and asteroids from the data, earth’s temperature generally changes very little over long periods of time. ‘By long periods of time’, I mean thousands of years. Most scientist believe these changes are a consequence of fluctuation or pulsations in the sun’s energy output.
Our current situation is in no way similar to the standard temperature variations that the earth has endured. For the entire earth’s temperature to rise almost 2 degrees F in 100 years is unprecedented. Even if one could find any increase in the ancient temperature data, that does show an unexplainable hike in the earths temperature similar to what we are experiencing today, this does not take into account the CO2 that we are pouring into the atmosphere in-ever increasing amounts. Everyone knows that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which traps the sun energy in the atmosphere, not allowing the natural release of energy into space, much like a very large piece of insulation that only allows energy in but not out.
As a species some of us will survive global climate change. We may have to move New York City and many other large cities inland, New Orleans will be a great scuba diving venue and weather patterns will of course change in ways we can only imagine. The ocean has already risen 1/2 foot and ice caps are melting faster than anyone predicted. Deserts will become oases and jungles will become deserts, but we are very adaptable and many of us will survive.
One last point I need to address: the concept of global dimming, a concept which very few have heard of. For the last 50+ years scientists have been conducting a simple experiment around the world. They use a large shallow metal pan and place water in it to measure the rate of evaporation, which indirectly corresponds to the amount of solar energy that reaches the ground. Over that time, it was determined that there has been a decrease in the energy reaching the earth’s surface, until 1990, when aerosols were banned worldwide. At that point in time global dimming slowly changed to what is called, global brightening. Global brightening is when more of the energy from the sun is absorbed by the earth, rather than is reflected back into space. A proposed explanation for the early decreased in solar gain is the increase in particulate matter in the atmosphere from to cars and smokestacks. In more recent times there has been a reversal in this trend as a result of fewer car and smokestack emissions, thus allowing more energy to reach the ground. Now for those of you with a nimble mind, consider the consequences of the more recent increased solar gain and increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Oddly enough, we may have been slowing global climate change until 1990; this being due to the fact we were dumping so much particulate matter into the air! More recently, as we continue to clean up the air, we may actually see an accelerated rise in global temperatures. And this corresponds to what the world is seeing, the ever-increasing destruction of our polar caps and rise of the ocean.
So there you have it: global climate change in a few short paragraphs! It is happening and will continue to happen and we will have to learn to accept whatever an angry Mother Nature chooses to throw our way. Current calculations say that even if we were to stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere today, it would take many years for the earth’s weather system to return to something similar to what currently exists. Meanwhile, storm and rain patterns will be altered, ocean temperatures will increase and we will be like children on a scary ride at the amusement park, always wondering what is around the next corner.
There is one doom’s day scenario that people need to know about now. There is an extremely large mass of frozen methane (methane Hydrate) at the bottom of many of our oceans. If oceans temperatures continue to rises, these large deposits will begin to melt, and that folks, will be the end of the world as we know it! The oceans will turn red and the air will become poisonous and flammable. As I stated, this could be brought on by the warming of earth’s oceans, which is exactly what we are doing. Maybe we better get busy terraforming Mars just in case!