We Learned Something New


Posted on : 8/26/2011 07:28:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , ,

It is no large secret that I am a skeptic regarding the theory that human activity is the sole/primary/major force behind the changes in our climate over the last 150 years. 

Any fool looking at the data can see that things have gotten warmer over that time frame.  What few elect to recall is that a miniature ice age that correlates with the Maunder Minimum ended about 150 years ago.  In reality, we have been warming from an unusually cold condition back towards a more usual climate.

In any case, one of the primary reasons for my skepticism is the non-scientific manner used to express theories concerning the influence of human activity in that general warming trend.  The science of those theories has been "settled".  Or so they tell us.

But that isn't science.  Scientific theories take not just decades, but often centuries before we know enough to call them anything close to "settled".

Albert Einstein presented his general theory of relativity in 1916.  Since then there have been many discoveries and refinements.  There continue to be hypotheses about exceptions to Mr. Einstein's theory that have yet to be proved or disproved.  It may take a while before we know all we can know about the implications of the theory of relativity.

Sir Isaac Newton presented his theory of gravity in PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica which was published in 1687.  It wasn't until 350 years later that we began to understand that gravity throughout the universe was not constant.  And it took almost another 50 years before that understanding was fully developed.

So what is new in the field of climatology?  We have a report from CERN regarding the link between cosmic rays emanating from the sun being closely tied with the formation of clouds in the atmosphere.

Another source of my skepticism is the rather simplistic manner in which some individuals have presumed a direct, primary, causal relationship between CO2 and climate change to the near total exclusion of other reasonable factors.  It is my opinion that solar forcings have been understated in climate models in favor of anthropogenicy.  The one true fact is that we do not know what we know.  We do not know what we do not know either.  We do not fully understand all of the intricacies associated with how the climate changes over time.

We have learned a few things over the years.  And we are developing a better understanding of the various factors involved in our climate.  Responsible scientists qualify their remarks to point out the wide range of predicted future temperatures.  They also suggest that there are significant factors beyond human activity that are at work.

As we move forward, I am confident that our understanding will be revised and refined again and again.  My opinion is that along with learning more about our climate, we will probably discover that we have an over-sized collective ego.  The earth has been around for a very long time.  While humanity is able to affect significant micro-scale changes, our impact on something as massive and complicated as the atmosphere is less significant than some alarmist pseudo-scientists would have us believe.

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