Monday, March 06, 2006

King Canute* would have supported Kyoto

Before there was Global Warming the big deal was Global Cooling. Temperatures in 2003 (after 35 or so years of warming) reached temperatures last seen in 1938. At the start of the 1940’s a cooling trend began that all of us baby boom climatology students were fully convinced was anthropogenic. The refereed literature was most convincing, from the end of the 1960’s to the late 70’s. There was even talk of spreading coal dust on Greenland’s ice caps to reverse the trend.

No one knows for sure what triggered - or what reversed - that cooling trend. Best guess is overlap of short and long term cycles of solar radiation.

I doubt that any climatologist would say seriously that there is no such thing as climate change. All there IS with climate is change. So when people claim that they can stop climate from changing, it’s considered good scientific form to ask for some proof.

IPCC scientists are claiming that the Kyoto protocol would stop around 0.1Centigrade degree worth of climate change by 2100. Since they are projecting about 5 degrees of heating by then, it seems prudent that we either learn to adapt or get out of the way, rather than count on a carbon tax to cool things down. Nothing to do with political ideology, just a pesky fact that anyone can look up. Start with Wigley, T.M.L., 1998. Geophys. Res. Lett., 25, 2285-2288.

*Final note - Yes, I know that Canute was actually trying to demonstrate his mortal powerlessness by telling the tide to stop. Artistic license was used in the headline...

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