When it comes global warming and climate change, there are facts. However, there are also many misconceptions, outright lies and even memes circulating on the web. In fact, many people are arguing about the mainstream scientific conclusion that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing harmful global warming. There are proponents and opponents. But to clear up confusion and get good insights about this subject, let us look at some facts and myths about global warming:
List of Facts on Global Warming
1. Climate has always been changing, and will stay that way. The assumption that before the Industrial Revolution the Earth had a stable climate is simply incorrect. It would be more sensible to say that we should always be prepared for such a change.
2. Temperature measurements accurately made by satellites and weather balloons since the late 1950s have shows no warming in the atmosphere since 1958. In contrast, averaged ground-based thermometers recorded a warming of about 0.40 degree Celsius over the period. However, many scientists believe that latter findings are biased by the Urban Heat Island effect and other factors.
3. Despite the more than USD50-million-dollar expenditure to look for unambiguous human (anthropogenic) signal in the global temperature pattern, none has been identified.
4. Without the greenhouse effect, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be -180 degrees Celsius, instead of the un-varying +150 degrees Celsius that nurtured the development of life.
5. On both the geological and annual time scales, atmospheric temperature changes precede changes in carbon dioxide. This concludes that the gas could not be the main forcing agent for warming. However, CO2 increase has definitely led to a diminishingly mild positive temperature feedback.
6. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the main scaremonger for the global warming lobby, which led to the Kyoto Protocol. Critically, the organization is a political, not a scientific, body. Experts arrogated that the group committed some flaws with regards to releasing information on global warming.
7. The Kyoto Protocol is expected to cost many trillions of dollars and will have a significant imposition to the nations that signed it. However, it is also expected to deliver no significant cooling.
8. Climate change is a non-linear process, of which some parts are only dimly (or not at all) understood. No computer model has been determined to be able to make an accurate prediction of our climate for 1 century in the future. So, it is not surprising that experts in computer modeling also agree that no current climate model is able to accurately predict regional climatic changes.
9. A big fallacy about human global warming is the belief that almost all scientists agree that it is happening at a dangerous rate.
List of Myths on Global Warming
1. The average global temperature (AGT) has risen over the last few years.
Debunked: The AGT has not risen since 1995 and even declined since 2002, in spite of the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1995.
2. There is a dangerously fast increase rate of AGT during the late 20th century, even reaching an unexampled magnitude.
Debunked: During the period, the AGT rise was at a rate of 1-20 degrees Celsius/century, which lies well within the natural climate change rates for the last 10 millenia.
3. The AGT was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times, but has sky-rocketed since 1900 and is expected to increase by several degrees more over the next century.
Debunked: The Mann et al. curve has been revealed to be a statistical contrivance, and there is no convincing evidence that past climates were unchanging. It is also exposed that no 20th-century AGT changes were unusual nor that dangerous human warming is on the way.
4. Computer models have predicted that the AGT will shoot up by 60 degrees Celsius over the next century.
Debunked: Deterministic computer models do, but other equally valid and empirical computer models have predicted cooling.
5. More than 20 degrees Celsius of global warming will have catastrophic impact on mankind and the ecosystem alike.
Debunked: Such a rate is seen to be well within previous natural bounds, and our ecosystem has been adapting to such change since time. The result is the process we know as evolution, where mankind has always been adapting to all extreme climatic conditions.
6. Further addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by humans is going to cause dangerous and harmful warming.
Debunked: There has been no human-caused warming detected that would be different from variations in the natural system. Any additional warming caused by humans will probably amount to just less than 10 degrees Celsius. And, atmospheric CO2 is considered as a beneficial fertilizer for plants and an aid for efficient evapo-transpiration.
7. Changes in solar activity are not able to explain recent AGT changes.
Debunked: Take note that the sun’s output varies in many ways on several time scales, with concomitant effects on our planet’s atmospheric conditions. While changes in visible radiation are miniscule, those observed in magnetic fields and particle flux exercise a strong effect on the climate. A huge amount of rise in AGT observed during the 20th century can be attributed to solar change.
8. Unprecedented ice melting is occurring in both the North and South Polar Regions.
Debunked: Both the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are cooling at their summits and growing in thickness. In fact, the sea ice around the Antarctic has attained a record area in 2007, and Arctic temperatures are just now achieving the natural warmth levels that were experienced during the early 1940s.
9. Global warming caused by humans is leading to dangerous sea-level rises around the world.
Debunked: Sea-level changes differ depending on the time and place. Global average sea levels are a statistical measure without any value when it comes to environmental planning.
10. The increase in AGT during the late 20th century caused an increase in the number of severe storms and their intensity.
Debunked: Meteorological experts agreed that no rise in the number of storms has occurred beyond what is associated with our climate system’s natural variation.
Truth is, almost every aspect of climate science is subject of vigorous debates. Also, thousands of qualified scientists around the world have pushed declarations that query the evidence for hypothetical human-caused warming and support a rational scientific approach to studies within the context of natural climate changes that are known. So, it is important to gather information from trusted sources before you express your idea about global warming.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.