- Education and Science»
- Geology & Atmospheric Science
Global Warming: Fact or Fallacy?
The Polar Icecaps Are Melting
If you watch television enough you will see a commercial depicting Global Warming. It might be a polar bear standing on a remnant of ice with no place to go; it might be a parched desert in need of water. There are many variations of the theme showing viewers that this is a reality, it is happening and it is our fault. Studies have been done, millions of dollars spent to prove this is real and the viewer is left with the thought that unless we turn our world around our future is bleak indeed.
But to every story there is an opposing side, one telling a completely different tale. One that says that the ice caps are fine, even growing. That the temperatures aren't rising, in fact they are falling. That Mankind is not part of the problem associated with the catastrophe known as Global Warming. What is one to believe? Where does the Truth lie?
Enter the words "Global Warming" into your computer and within nanoseconds you will have in excess of 62,000,000 results available for one to peruse at their leisure. "Global Warming Hoax"; "Global Warming 101"; "Global Warming - National Geographic" the list goes on and on. And for every article which states it is real an opposing article can be found saying it is not real.
Let's begin by defining what Global Warming truly is. Basically Global Warming is another name for Climate Change which is an observable phenomenon that includes the rise and fall of the Earth's temperature over a time scale often spanning centuries. So right off the bat we know that the Earth has gone through periods of warming and cooling before. Ice Ages have come and gone, creating land bridges connecting continents together due to the vast amount of water in our oceans being frozen and gathering near the poles, thereby exposing the land hidden beneath the seas. In time, this ice melts and covers these land bridges once more, separating the continents once more.
Likewise, there have been times where those ice caps melt more than other times, releasing more water into the oceans and causing coastal flooding, covering portions of land that had previously been exposed and dry. Again, with time the ice re-formed and the waters withdrew, allowing that land to become exposed once more. This occurs in cycles and the current cycle we are experiencing seems to be one that is creating a higher temperature that is advancing more quickly than previous cycles. The thought is that Man is enhancing, or even causing this rise in the global temperature.
But is he? Is Man really responsible for the rise or simply one of the myriad of reasons the temperature is rising?
Do you believe...
The problem that exists is that Man has been able to document these cycles only fairly recently in scientific terms. We have been cognoscente of this phenomenon for a relatively few years when one is speaking in terms of how old the Earth is, relying on conjecture, guesses and theories to know what occurred before recorded history then presenting it as a known fact. The problem with this is that all to often that fact is then found to be incorrect, flawed or simply not founded on firm ground.
Take the Earth is Flat theory. At one time this was believed by the world at large. If one searched far enough one would sail right off the edge of the world into oblivion. Beginning with Greek philosopher Pythagoras in the 6th century B.C. a different theory was taking hold, that of a spherical or round Earth. For the next 2,000 years and beyond this was simply a theory. Various cultures came to know and understand that the Earth was not flat at different times in our history until as recently as the 17th century China finally came on board. Now we know the Earth is not flat but it took a long time to come to grips with that knowledge.
Then we have the Big Bang Theory and no, I am not speaking of the sitcom of the same name. Called "the prevailing cosmological model for the universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large scale evolution", this offers a scientific explanation for how the universe was created. In this theory, the entirety of everything was a single point which exploded and is in an ever increasing expansion radiating outward from that point. This was first postulated in the early 1900's and was accepted as fact for the better part of a century. Now, however, a new theory has superseded this one and it appears as though the universe had no beginning at all, that is has always simply existed.
How can both be true? Either the universe was a single point and exploded or it didn't. And if it was a single point, how did that point come to be? And that is where Science fails in this regard for me, as it cannot be explained. Religion says God created it and subsequently everything occurred from there. This is at least as probable as the Big Bang Theory for it provides a beginning instead of just saying it came from nowhere.
What does this have to do with Global Warming? Just that whoever is deciphering the data can read it however they choose to interpret it. Some scientists are saying the Earth is continuing to rise in temperature while others say it is cooling. it can't be both, yet it is being told to us that it is.
One study says the Polar Ice Caps are melting yet another study says they are gaining ice. In Antarctica, it appears as though the Western portion is losing while the Eastern is gaining and is gaining enough to offset the loss on the Western side. And while the Antarctic is gaining ice the Arctic is losing it, and at a rate exceeding the gain seen around the South Pole.
But the problem is what is causing this? Is it truly Mankind and his machines? Or is it simply the normal cycle a living entity such as the Earth is continuing to be alive?
For example, we living in the Northern Hemisphere see four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) take place during the months of March, April and May (Spring); June, July and August (Summer); September, October and November (Fall); and December, January and February (Winter). The Earth turns around the Sun, tipping on its axis to create these cycles. In the Southern Hemispheres these seasons are inverted so when we experience Summer people in Australia are experiencing Winter.
So we know and understand the season cycles; we also know and understand other cycles as they pertain to nature. Why is this any different? The Earth has other cycles beyond the four seasons, they just exist on a far vaster scale than a single year and not necessarily on a defined time frame. For example, there have been five definite Ice Ages found to have existed in the Earth's history. Within these five Ice Ages, there have been other less severe yet telling periods where the temperatures varied sufficiently to cause other dramatic changes to the environment. In the vast majority of those, Man wasn't even on the horizon so could not have caused these changes. There have been floods and droughts, heavy snow and rain at times and virtually none at other times. Temperatures have fluctuated widely before we came along and will after we are gone.
So how can we with any certainty say we are THE cause for what is currently taking place? I have no doubt that we may be adding to the cause but we are not the cause; the Earth has gone through this before without our help.
- Former NASA consultant, climatologist John L. Casey: 'A radical shift in global climate is u
With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. - along with last winter described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" - climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather...
So is there a calamity known as Global Warming? Ultimately, yes. But one group of data shows that it might be over and we could be entering a cooler period. And if one person who is studying this is correct, we might be in for another problem, one that will affect millions of lives here in the United States.
Earthquakes. If we are entering into a cooler period as this researcher states we could see an escalation in earth tectonics resulting in massive earthquakes and volcanic activity. According to him, the last period similar to this one was just over 200 years ago; if you know your history you would know that this was when the New Madrid Earthquakes took place. John Casey, former NASA consultant and Space Shuttle engineer has called this a solar activity issue which will result in a cool period for the Earth. According to his studies, the Earth has already lost ground in the temperature arena, down for the past decade. And this is where I have a problem: one set of scientists say the Earth is warming over the past decade; another says it is cooling. Both cannot be true, yet each says they are right.
Casey is not alone in his thoughts. Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov agrees that the Earth is cooling and goes so far as to say we are entering a new mini-ice age. Whereas the scientists who are saying the Earth is continuing to warm due to CO2 levels and greenhouse gases the other scientists are attributing the Earth's cycles more to the Sun and its Solar Cycles containing sun spots.
Did you know?
Antonio Stradivari and his family of violin makers produced what is said to be the finest sounding violins ever made. As Antonio lived during the Maunder Minimum he utilized materials which grew during this cold period and it is theorized that due to this unique combination of man and weather no one can duplicate the singular sound of a Strad. The material was denser for having a much slower growth during the Little Ice Age and this is said to be the reason for the unique sound of a Stradivarius. Experts have tried and failed using modern materials and equipment to capture this moment in time.
Have you ever heard of the Maunder Minimum? This was a period of minimal sunspot activity which took place during the 1600 and 1700's. Sunspots were rare during this time and the temperature of the Earth cooled noticeably, to the point this period is known as the "Little Ice Age". In addition, there were significant volcanic eruptions which provided large amounts of ash to the upper atmosphere which reflected what heat there was from the Sun, exacerbating the situation.
Some are saying we are entering into another minimum today. And if you look at the records it appears to be so. So the possibility exists that yes we are having a Global Warming event even as we are entering a cooler period in our Earth's history. I liken it to turning on the heater and the furnace at the same time. Some areas could see cooler seasons, other warmer. After all, the Earth is not a dead thing, it is a living breathing entity that we parasitically live upon. And while we can and do influence this entity in some manners we are not the large effects that other phenomena are, namely the Sun. If the Sun goes cold, we will as well and all the greenhouse gasses we create won't amount to a hill of beans when compared to the energy lost from the Sun.
- Is a Mini Ice Age Coming? 'Maunder Minimum' Spurs Controversy
A scientist who claims waning solar activity in the next 15 years will trigger what some are calling a mini ice age has revived talk about the effects of man-made versus natural disruptors to Earth's climate.