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Climate Change Deniers-- Why I Have a Problem With Them

Updated on October 17, 2011

Which one is "sitting pretty"?

The truth is out there...

The amount of work involved in analyzing climate involves data collected from all over the world and decades of record keeping. Because of its complexity, it gives ammunition to the climate deniers, rightly or wrongly, to be able to claim that bad climate science has proliferated. In addition, because of the freedom of information act, everyone thinks they should have access to the raw data, even individuals who don’t understand the science behind it.

Unfortunately, data that gets in the hands of the wrong people - - lobbyists for the oil and energy sectors and groups who wants to protect the status quo – will try to destroy the integrity of the science, methodology, and the reputations of the scientists involved. Now scientists are too scared to publish and release their results to public due to harsh criticisms. As one climate researcher stated “ why should I release my data to the first blogger who asks for it when his aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

Unfortunately, scientists wanting to publish their findings in leading journals or submitting their findings to the IPCC (International Panel for Climate Change), tend to downplay the seriousness of their work to avoid the slander and ridicule of the climate change deniers. Thus, important information has been censored by the very scientists writing the reports!

Also, it just isn’t scientists involved in the IPCC, there are representatives from the oil and gas industry, government officials, and members of the media. So, this is not a favourable atmosphere for the scientists to correspond effectively or accurately on their findings, especially, if the antagonists will deny the science behind it or wish not to report “any suspicious or possible exaggerated conclusions.

And now, to address the silly comments that deniers keep saying that climate change is a hoax. First, the basic physics. It is beyond doubt that certain gases in the atmosphere, most importantly water vapour and carbon dioxide, trap heat. They have a “greenhouse effect”. Thus in itself is not a bad thing. Without these gases the planet would freeze. There is also no doubt that human activity – mostly burning carbon-based fuels like coal and oil, but also deforestation and ploughing – is pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Nor do even the most die-hard skeptics deny that this has caused a sustained year-on-year rise in carbon dioxide concentrations. For almost sixty years, continuous measurements at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii have charted this rise. Today’s concentrations are about 35 per cent above pre-industrial levels.

Knowing what we know about those gases, we would expect them to warm the atmosphere, and we would expect the atmosphere In turn to warm the oceans, starting at the surface. All those things we see happening.

In 2000, scientists for the first time measured the heat trap directly. Researchers at Imperial College London examined satellite data covering almost three decades to plot changes in the amount of infrared radiation (heat) escaping the atmosphere into space. They looked in particular at the part of the infrared spectrum that is trapped by carbon dioxide – wavelengths between 13 and 19 micrometres. They found that between 1970 and 1997 less and less radiation at these wavelengths was escaping,

But this greenhouse effect is not the only issue. On its own, a doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would raise global temperatures by an average of only about 1C. No big deal. But all the evidence is that this initial warming will be amplified, probably about threefold, by “feedbacks”. And here legitimate debates begin about the extent and nature of the feedbacks.

Probably about as important, but much less certain, is the impact of a build-up of water vapour in the atmosphere. It is the water vapour that maintains a constant temperature that keeps the planet from freezing. The water cycle has keep the amount of water vapour relatively constant over the millenniums. But in a warmer world, more water is evaporated from the oceans. Water vapour is a potent greenhouse gas, so more water vapour adds to the heating. Here again is another man-made mechanism adding to the warming of our planet.

Another human influence is the dust and aerosol pollution that persuaded climate scientologists in the 1970s that we could be destined for cooling. Particles in the atmosphere causes more solar radiation to be reflected back in outer space. Thus, the resulting cooling effect. During the seventies, most of the particles and aerosols came from pollution from industrial smelters. This lead to the acid rain problem over much of the northeastern United States and southern Ontario. When the Clean Air act came in effect, forcing industries to clean up their emissions of sulfurous and nitrous oxides into the atmosphere was reduced immensely. The global cooling that the skeptics talked about was due to the pollutants in the air that counteracted the rising greenhouse emissions. When the pollution was reduced, the global warming became the dominant force.

Attention has been focusing on the latter part of the 20th century. Past climatic fluctuations were due to natural forces, so can they explain the recent sharp warming as well? The most obvious influence is the sun. Probably until the mid-20th century fluctuations in solar radiation were the main influence on global temperatures., either because of changes in the sun or because of wobbles in the earth’s orbit, which seem to trigger the regular ice ages. The trouble is that since about 1980, solar influences ought to have been cooling the planet. They could not have been causing warming. Another known influence is volcanic eruptions, which can shade the Earth with sulphate particles that cause cooling. If we were recovering from a period of strong volcanic activity, that might explain the warming. But again that does not fit the evidence of the real world.

There is, however, one final element that has been rather ignored until recently: the influence of the oceans. The oceans have been known to be a great carbon sink. The oceans have the capability of absorbing a great deal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere about 50% of it. Until now. Because of warming temperatures, the ocean is also warming up. As the ocean temperatures increase, the ability of the ocean to dissolve gases, like carbon dioxide, decreases. Thus, the ability of the oceans to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide is decreasing. Oceans are no longer an effective carbon sink. Unfortunately, there is another consequence of this process. Carbon dioxide absorbed into the ocean forms carbonic acid. Thus, the oceans are becoming more acidic. The result is that it directly affects marine life. A warming, acidic ofean is destroying marine life – both plant and animal. The phytoplankton is the main component of the marine food chain. Like land plants, they are the major producers for food for all animals in the ocean. As a single-cell plant, not only absorbing carbon dioxide, they are also a major oxygen producer. 50% of the oxygen comes from these very small plants. Phytoplankton are the base of the marine ecosystem. It's the fuel on which it runs .… Changes in phytoplankton abundance will ultimately affect everything higher in the food chain from tiny little zooplankton all the way up to large whales, valuable fisheries and humans at the top. A study found that the world is losing an average of one per cent of its phytoplankton each year, and the northern hemisphere has lost roughly 40 per cent since 1950. The decline appears linked to rising surface temperatures in the ocean. The frightening scenario is that not only the oceans are failing to remove carbon dioxide, but due to warming trends, the amount of oxygen provided by the oceans is decreasing. Along with deforestation, we will see an alarming increase in carbon dioxide and an alarming decrease in oxygen!

Last, but not least, is the influence of positive feedback systems. All the evidence of climate history is that periods of stability are punctuated by sudden temperature jumps driven by positive feedbacks. These periods of abrupt change are usually triggered by solar influences but then amplified and accelerated by carbon dioxide.

There are two main concerns today. One is that warming will release greenhouses gases from natural carbon stores – carbon dioxide from dying rainforests or parched soils; methane from melting permafrost or frozen stores known to exist in very large volumes beneath the ocean floor. The second is that the accelerated breakup of ice sheets will cause much more rapid sea level rise than currently envisaged by glaciologists. Both concerns were raised in the last IPCC report but, due to criticisms by policy makers, they were kept out of the summary.

Don’t you feel they need to know what is going on in our environment? This is OUR habitat! We have known to destroy other species by destroying their habitats and guess what is happening to mankind. We must face the reality that we MUST reduce our burning of fossil fuels and reduce our demand for energy. Failure to do so can only mean one thing – the end of civilization has we know it and possibly the destruction of man.

We need to find out the truth and climate deniers want you to believe it is a hoax. Actually, the hoax is believing that global warming is a hoax….. think about that…..

Humanity's Habitat

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    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 

      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      With so much of the opposition and denial to global warming coming from Wall St, they should be a natural fit!

    • road2hell profile imageAUTHOR

      road2hell 

      7 years ago from Linden, AB

      TeaPartyCrasher: You're right! So let's get "with in" and educate the masses. We have the Wall Street Protesters and we also should have "Down with Climate Deniers" Protests!

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile image

      TeaPartyCrasher 

      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA

      It's more than just Coal and Oil.

      To be truly committed to solving or curtailing this problem would require a serious shift in everything from how we work to what we eat!

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 

      7 years ago from Camden, South Carolina

      A nice summary. I've written about some of these issues, too, and it is quite sad that some contort reality to fit better with their political ideology--as, for example, the Rush Limbaughs and Rick Perrys of the world do--or with their economic interests--as Exxon and Big Coal, both of whom have spent many millions upon disinformation campaigning.

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