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Global Warming: The Real Science Should we join the mantra or be responsible scientists? Dr. R. B. Schultz Definition of Key Terms
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Dr. R. B. Schultz
The temperature of Earth is determined by:
1. the quantity of sunlight received by Earth
2. the amount of sunlight Earth reflects (and therefore does not absorb)
3. the atmospheric retention of reradiated heat.
Misconception #1: Carbon dioxide is the gas most responsible for global warming and heat transfer.
Response: The heat content of water in its gaseous state (water vapor) is far greater than that of carbon dioxide in its gaseous state by orders of magnitude. How much impact can non-water gases like CO2 have? In reality, water vapor is the overwhelming force driving global temperature increases.
Response: The vast majority of gases are not anthropogenic. In fact, 96% of gases are natural. Humans have accounted for a very small quantity of gases in our atmosphere. Dr. Dixie Lee Ray notes that there are 200 billion tons per year produced by natural gases as opposed to 7 billion tons per year for human intervention.
Misconception #3: Since the Industrial Revolution, global temperatures have drastically risen.
Response: Approximately 0.5oC of increase has occurred since the 1850’s. If models indicative of anthropogenic pollution were used to hindcast as well as forecast, the Earth would have shown an increase by at least several degrees during that time period, which it does not.
Response: The vast majority of measurements made have been collected on land (usually North America and Europe), latitudinally similar. Since 71% of Earth’s surface is water, don’t we at least have a significant data gap?
Misconception #5: The 1990’s saw the warmest time ever recorded in terms of temperature.
Response: Actually, 1938 was the warmest year on record. Post-WWII times (1940’s and 1950’s) saw the greatest increase in carbon dioxide concentrations worldwide, yet we observed a global decrease in temperatures during that time. Some even predicted an ice age was coming.
Response: An interesting fact is that Greenland when settled by Vikings, was actually named for its appearance. Today, it hardly lives up to its name. Just a simple fact.
Misconception #7: Climatic models are based on science and thus, accurately depict real conditions.
Response: The Earth is very dynamic and has many outside influences. We (the scientific community) aren’t sure exactly what one (or more) factors caused the ice age to begin with. So what makes us believe we can predict what climate will be like in the future with such an amazing degree of certainty?