“International warming has begun, skilled tells Senate” (1988 exaggerations in comparison with right this moment) • Do you agree?
Out of masterresource
By Robert Bradley Jr.
Ed. note: This front-page New York Times article by noted environmental reporter Philip Shabecoff (June 24, 1988) marked the beginning of the media-driven climate scare. Of particular note is the estimated anthropogenic warming and sea level rise: 3-9 degrees F and 1-4 feet between 2025 and 2050. Today, 35 years later, the recorded rise is 1F and 4 inches.
Earth was warmer in the first five months of this year than at any comparable period since records began 130 years ago, and the higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-anticipated pollution-related global warming trend, a scientist with the space agency reported Today .
Until now, scientists have been cautious about attributing the rising global temperatures of recent years to predicted global warming caused by pollutants in the atmosphere, known as the “greenhouse effect”. But today said Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation but was being caused by an accumulation of carbon dioxide and other man-made gases in the atmosphere.
dr Hansen, a leading expert on climate change, said in an interview that there was no “magic number” that would indicate when the greenhouse effect actually started causing climate and weather changes. But he added: “It’s time to stop the ramblings and say that there’s pretty strong evidence that the greenhouse effect is there.”
A centuries-long effect
if dr Hansen and other scientists are correct, then through fossil fuel burning and other activities, humans have altered the global climate in ways that will affect life on Earth for centuries to come.
dr Hansen, director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
He and other scientists testifying before the Senate panel today said projections of climate change now appearing to be happening mean the southeastern and midwestern United States will experience very high temperatures and frequent droughts over the next decade outside . However, they warned that given the still limited body of knowledge on the subject, it was not possible to attribute any particular heat wave to the greenhouse effect.
Some hassle left
Some scientists still argue that the warmer temperatures of recent years may be due to natural variations rather than human-caused changes.
Several senators on the committee, along with witnesses, called for action to be taken now for a comprehensive national and international program to slow global warming.
Senator Timothy E. Wirth, the Colorado Democrat who chaired today’s hearing, said, “As I read it, the scientific evidence is compelling: The global climate is changing as the Earth’s atmosphere is warming.” Congress to consider how to slow or halt this warming trend and how to manage the changes that may already be inevitable.”
capture of solar radiation
Mathematical models have predicted for some years that accumulation of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and other gases emitted into the atmosphere by human activities, would cause the Earth’s surface to warm by trapping infrared radiation from the sun. turn the whole earth into a kind of greenhouse.
If the current rate of accumulation of these gases continues, the impact is projected to result in warming of 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit between 2025 and 2050. This temperature rise is expected not to be uniform around the globe, but to be more pronounced at higher latitudes, reaching up to 20 degrees, and lower at the equator.
Rising global temperatures are projected to cause thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of glaciers and polar ice, causing sea levels to rise by one to four feet by the middle of the next century. Scientists have already noticed a slight rise in sea levels. At the same time, the heat would cause inland waterways to evaporate more quickly, lowering the level of bodies of water like the Great Lakes.
dr Hansen, who records temperatures from readings at measuring stations around the world, had previously reported that four of the hottest years on record occurred in the 1980s. Compared to a 30-year baseline from 1950 to 1980, when global temperature averaged 59 degrees Fahrenheit, last year’s temperature was a third of a degree higher. For the entire century prior to 1880, global temperature had risen by half a degree, rising in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and then, for unknown reasons, stabilizing for several decades in the mid-century.
Warmest year expected
In the first five months of this year, the temperature averaged about four tenths of a degree above the baseline period, reported Dr. Hans today. “The first five months of 1988 are so warm globally that barring a notable, unlikely cooling later in the year, we conclude that 1988 will be the warmest year on record.” he to the Senate committee.
He also said current climate patterns are consistent with greenhouse effect projections in several aspects, in addition to temperature rise. For example, he said, the rise in temperature is greater at high latitudes than at low latitudes, greater on continents than in oceans, and there is cooling in the upper atmosphere while the lower atmosphere is warming.
“Global warming has reached a level where we can establish with high confidence a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and the observed warming,” said Dr. Hansen at the hearing today, adding: “It’s already happening.”
dr Syukuro Manabe of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory testified today that a number of factors, including earlier snowmelt each year due to higher temperatures and a rain belt moving farther north in the summer, are causing ” it is likely that severe summer drought will become more common in the mid-continental region as air temperature increases.”
A foretaste of the future
While natural climate variability is the most likely root cause of the current drought, Dr. Manabe, the global warming trend is likely to “exacerbate the current drought.” He added that the current drought is a foretaste of what the country will face in the years to come.
dr George Woodwell, director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, said that while a slow warming trend would give human society time to respond, the rate of warming is uncertain. One factor that could accelerate global warming is the widespread destruction of forests that cannot adapt quickly enough to rising temperatures. The dying forests would release the carbon dioxide stored in their organic matter, greatly accelerating the greenhouse effect. Significant reduction in fuel consumption urgently required
dr Woodwell and other panel members said planning to drastically reduce the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide must begin now. Because trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, he also proposed an end to the current rapid deforestation in many parts of the world and “a vigorous program of reforestation.”
Some experts also believe that concerns about global warming caused by burning fossil fuels warrant a renewed effort to develop safer nuclear power. Others emphasize the need for more efficient use of energy through energy conservation and other measures to curb fuel burn.
dr Michael Oppenheimer, an atmospheric physicist with the Environmental Defense Fund, a national environmental group, said a number of steps could be taken worldwide immediately, including ratifying and then strengthening the treaty to reduce the use of chlorofluorocarbons, widely used industrial chemicals leading to to contribute to the greenhouse effect. These chemicals have also been found to destroy ozone in the upper atmosphere, which protects the Earth’s surface from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.