In this stark summary from a meeting of 2.5k scientists from across the globe, we find that not only is anthropomorphic climate change real, not only is it getting worse, but also, within the error margins for the ‘hockey stick‘ predictions of only a few years back, recent measurements put the actual effects at the top of the predicted range!
Many years ago I read a book (actually in a few volumes) by the late climatologist from East Anglia, H.H.Lamb called Climate Present Past and Future (ISBN 0-06-473881-7). It’s extremely hard to get hold of now, but I recall that nearly everything Professor Lamb wrote is now coming true.
Many of the scientific concepts he wrote about are being used in the so-called ‘climate debate’ between various vested interests. Check out the apologists for freedom at The Heartland Institute (you can’t make it up, can you?) or Climate Change Fraud (who change their hyperlinks regularly to avoid comebacks). Several lone souls tackle these monsters of misleading fact-providers, such as Greenfyre’s and the Ecogeek.
The amount of cloud cover and water vapour is always a good red herring for the deniers. As Prof. Lamb pointed out 30 years ago and is perfectly obvious to any observer, clouds are both insulators and reflectors of heat. It just depends where they are, if it’s night or day, and where you, the observer are! For instance:
- cold day, -> clouds move in and night falls = cold night as cold trapped at ground level
- cold day, -> no clouds at night = even colder night as heat radiates out to space
- cold night, -> cloudy day = cold day as cold trapped under clouds and sun’s heat is reflected back to space
- cold night, -> sunny day = warm day as sun warms earth’s surface
These temps are all relative, of course. But throw in a bit of dirt into the clouds or let dirt fall on snow (another good reflector and insulator) and the picture changes because dark clouds and snow absorb more heat. What is clear is that cloud and snow cover, like continuous volcanic eruptions, and like CO2 and CH4, are critical positive feedback agents. Like trying to slowly push a light switch to stop in the middle, eventually all the slow forcing you do makes it flip to it’s other stable state.
Any worldary wobbling that the deniers use is also a red herring. The wobble cycles tie in with ice-ages as Professor Lamb pointed out. We’ve at least 20k years until the next one. Bothered? No. Thought not.
The fact is that there are many scenarios for cloud behaviour and it’s influence – the climate change deniers just tend to use one (like the wobbles) as the basis of their arguments. But even back in 1977, Professor Lamb’s models basically predicted the climate forcing we are witnessing now although at the time, a swing in the other direction looked possible.
But now we do know!
A recent exploration to the Arctic has been forced back because there’s no safe ice to walk on! Coral is dying. Floral and faunal species are being made extinct at an E.L.E. rate. Make no mistake, it’s our fault and if we don’t pay now we or our children will pay in the future. We need land and food to live on, not equities and price to earnings ratios. A week of reduced fuel supplies in the UK and Europe and the continuing travails of African economic migrants revealed a tiny window on our probable future as billions, globally, seek somewhere to live and breed. A few street riots will be the least of everyone’s worries.