The heat is on

Resident challenges comments made about global warming

Recent comments in this paper from Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, concerning climate change, have raised a storm of protest over our MP’s pretence that he and his “party are committed to greenhouse gas reductions.”

But what of Mr. Mayes’ assertion that, “in the past 10 years, the climate has actually cooled?” That fallacy is addressed in the Dec 7 New Scientist magazine. “This past decade has been the hottest since records began,” it says. “However, the average surface temperature seems to have increased more slowly than it did over previous decades.”

Global warming has not stopped.

New Scientist cautions that records for global surface temperature, “do not include the fastest-warming region on Earth, the Arctic, as there are so few observations there. There is every reason to think warming will accelerate greatly over the coming century.”

It gives three.

Heat from the sun varies in an 11 year cycle. “Measurements show it did dip particularly low recently,” but will cycle up again. Sulphur aerosols reflect the sun’s heat back into space.

Levels of sulphur dioxide mainly from volcanic eruptions and burning coal have risen in the past decade.

More of the sun’s heat has gone to oceans rather than the atmosphere. Water covers 70 per cent of the planet.

“A whopping 94 per cent of the heat has ended up in the oceans, with four per cent absorbed by land and ice. All surface warming since 1971 is due to just two per cent of the heat.” A little more heat going to oceans has a large effect on atmospheric temperature.

“During a La Nina, the Pacific soaks up so much heat that it cools the planet’s surface.”

The opposite happens with El Nino. “There have been lots of La Ninas lately but no major El Nino for the past 15 years.” Reduced albedo reflection caused by melting ice draws more heat into the dark Arctic Ocean and tundra. Global warming includes air, land and water.

New Scientist concludes that, “the evidence suggests atmospheric warming will accelerate again, and it could do so with a vengeance.”

Greig Crockett