Spring is around the corner, and with the snow melting away, it’s a great time to discuss anthropological global warming (AGW). It’s still a bit chilly, but the best arguments against global warming are in the dead of winter, when some would welcome a more temperate climate.
But I digress.
In the coming months, one would wonder whether or not the warmer temperatures are actually caused by AWG. It is not a question of whether temperatures are rising or not (unless you believe the predicted incoming ice age as of 1970), but whether humans are causing the change, and how humans will respond.
Temperature records for the past are shaky. Some claim that the past decade is the hottest in the past thousand years, while others point out the Medieval Warm Period (when Vikings grew barley on Greenland) and the Urban Heat Island effect (the grasslands around temperature stations are now replaced by asphalt).
Carbon dioxide saturation is also mentioned (CO2 absorbs certain wavelengths, thus once most of a wavelength is absorbed, introducing more CO2 will barely increase temperature) as well as the increase in solar activity and discrepancy in temperature recordings (upper troposphere should be warming faster than the ground due to the greenhouse effect, however, it is warming less than the ground temperature).
No matter which way you turn, you have arguments and counterarguments. The truth is, nobody really knows for sure.
But people only worry who’s to blame because of the effects of a warmer climate, and even that is under debate.
One hears about droughts, floods, heat waves, cold snaps, tornadoes and extinctions all blamed on climate change, but which of them can be true? Warmer temperatures create more powerful storms, but the warming also decreases the frequency of them (cooler areas warm more than hot areas; storms form when cold and warm fronts collide).
Sea levels may rise from the melting of glaciers, but increased precipitation from the increased temperature thickens glaciers as well. Precipitation patterns will change, but even the best climatologists have no idea how the increased number of clouds will affect temperature.
Plants and animals will adapt. Wildlife will move about , but relatively few will go extinct (compared to other things, such as deforestation). The animals alive today have survived millions of years virtually unchanged, in warmer temperatures than today. They will find a way to survive.
But will we? With our irksome habit of building out biggest cities the most dangerous places (California, Japan, Gulf of Mexico), there’s no wonder why we’re being effected. And is it worth spending our taxpayer dollars trying to delay the problem that will just occur another hundred years in the future?
We’re already overdue for a warming period (natural cycles, not AWG). We don’t know enough to make a firm bet, we might as well embrace the increased GDP and crop yields that come along with a moderate increase in temperature.
But hey, I know I’m not the only one looking forward to warmer winters.