Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 is one of the warmest years on record so far

The first eleven months of 2010 are leading it to be one of the warmest years on record:
This year is on track to enter the almanac as one of the three warmest years on record globally, along with 1998 and 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by the World Meteorological Organization.

Not only that, but 2010 stands a decent chance of capturing the record, depending on temperature data from November and December, according to Michel Jarraud, secretary-general of the WMO. Global average temperatures for the first 10 months of the year are running slightly ahead of those for the same period in '98 and '05...

Preliminary temperature data for November are comparable to temperatures seen in November 2005, indicating they have remained near record levels as the year winds down.

Even if 2010 fails to capture the top spot, the first decade of the 21st century already has gone into the books as the warmest since 1850, when the instrument record began. ...

Some climate scientists caution that any one year's worth of events is driven more by natural variability than by long-term warming triggered by the released of carbon dioxide from burning fossils fuel. But when 2010's extreme events are seen in that broader context, they appear to fit long-term patterns the climate models have generally projected for a climate system responding to increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

A range of studies have documented an increase in extreme heat events, a decrease in extreme cold events, and an increase in rainfall and snowfall intensity globally during the past 50 years...
The public debate about climate change is so intertwined with politics that I try to avoid politically-motivated arguments on the subject. I've never watched Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, because he's an environmental activist, not a climate scientist. I prefer to get my information from reputable scientific sources such as the National Academy of Science. Instead of An Inconvenient Truth, I watched the Teaching Company DVD series Earth's Changing Climate by Prof. Richard Wolfson of Middlebury College, available at your local library. These sources concur with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but are not as alarmist as environmental activists.

Republicans attack the IPCC as biased, but the IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. As Science Magazine, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, once stated:
IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members' expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements. ... Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect.
Here's a graph of global temperatures from 1850-2008:

Knowing that anthropological climate change exists and doing something productive about it are two different issues. Harvard economist Greg Mankiw has a simple solution. Raise carbon taxes, and then reduce other taxes so that the overall tax burden on the American economy doesn't change.

No comments:

Post a Comment