I was reading in one of the on-line periodicals that I frequent and found this article on Global Warming, and I must say that it fairly warmed my heart (what's left of my heart, at any rate).
I know that everyone is probably fed up with this whole subject, but I'm going to talk to myself about it anyway, so fair warning: what follows are my long-since established thoughts on the topic of global warming.
Is global warming "real"? Sure seems to be.
Is man THE reason for global warming? Pft...who really knows?
What got me right from the start on this topic is the assertion that humans are responsible for the current trend of global warming. CFCs, ozone, blah, blah, blah. At the same time, there is no end of evidence that the world was a much warming place when the dinosaurs walked the earth (palm trees in Alaska type warm). I immediately wondered, if humans are responsible, on whom do we blame THAT period of global warm? That one lasted for millions of years.
Also, we know that there have been several Ice Ages. According to UnmaskingEvolution.com and Wikipedia, there have been at least five major Ice Ages in the earth's past. So if there were five distinct periods of global cooling, then logic dictates that there have also been at least five distinct periods of global warming too.
I like this particular graphic, which I took from Wikipediea:
It's interesting to note that as we get closer and closer to today, according to this chart, the variation in period-on-period temperature seems to swing more and more widely. And for the most part, these swings have been going on with no humans on the planet.
I watched a documentary some time ago (within the last year or two) that talked about the "Little Ice Age". This documentary started its tale sometime around 1,000 AD (or ce, whichever you prefer). During the time from about 950 AD to 1250 AD, the world seems to have been a warmer place. I recall them stating that there were at that time grape vineyards in England (significant only because grape vineyards don't grow there today because the climate isn't warm enough). Wikipedia refers to this as the "Medieval Warm Period".
CFCs? Too much hair spray? Automobile emissions? Bah, Humbug!
What followed the MWP was the "Little Ice Age". Here's a Wikipedia article on that too. Very cool fact: the year 1816 is known as "the year without a summer" because frost and snow were reported in New England and Northern Europe during the months of June and July.
Of course, following the end of the Little Ice Age (mid 1800's, by most accounts), there must also have been a trend for global warming. I, for one, have never seen snow in my neck of the woods in June OR July.
So here we are talking about mere decades of global temperatures trending warmer than the previous several decades. On a glacial time scale, I don't think that we've got enough data to state what's going to happen. Not with any certainty.
Is this trend caused by man's presence on the planet? Maybe. Maybe not. I certainly don't think that we've been helping the cause for the last century.
The earth's cooler periods are generally caused by excess dust of one kind or another in the atmosphere. Generally, either from a sizable volcanic eruption, or many lesser such eruptions, or a meteor event. We haven't really had any of these events in a long while. Yes, there have been many eruptions, but none large enough to have the sort of impact that we're talking about.
Now, I'm also of a mind that many of the initiatives that have been undertaken in the name of "fixing" global warming should probably be done anyway. The energy saving measures, leaning towards solar energy over fossil fuels, cars with much better mileage or that run off of more benign sources such as Hydrogen...all are great things that we should be doing anyway. Not necessarily because I think that these are the causes of global warming, but because we ought to be taking care of our planet.
We did not inherit the earth from our fathers, we borrowed it from our children.
- I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.