Saturday, January 20, 2007

Global Warming: Debate Continue

Global climate change is one the area to watch in 2007 as noted by Science magazine in an issue published on December 22, 2006. According to science ‘The case for human-induced warming will grow even more ironclad as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its report in February. Meanwhile, the International Polar Year, opening in March, will feature climate research on Earth's coldest climes. And the world is watching the U.S. Congress, which, under Democratic control, is expected to pass some sort of mandatory emission regime, and President George W. Bush, whose response will be sure to shape the debate’.

But how general public think about global warming? Do they really understand it properly? A survey conducted by David Suzuki Foundation reveals it, ‘Simply put, most people don’t have a clue. The majority felt that global warming was a pretty important problem and they were concerned about it. But when pressed as to why it was a problem or what caused the problem, all heck broke loose. Apparently, according to the average peoples, global warming is happening because we’ve created a hole in the ozone layer, allowing the sun’s rays to enter the atmosphere and heat up the earth — or something like that. The cause of the problem is cars, or airplanes, or aerosol cans. No one really knows for sure.’

Global warming has been an issue of great debate since many decades in the climate science community. Climate scientists around the world report hundreds of research studies, which show over all warming of global earth temperatures. Most of these results are based on global climate models, observational case studies. This group of researchers says ‘Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will increase during the next century unless greenhouse gas emissions decrease substantially from present levels. Increased greenhouse gas concentrations are likely to raise the Earth’s average temperature, influence precipitation and some storm patterns as well as raise sea levels. The magnitude of these global warming, however, is uncertain’.

But, this is just one part of the story; there are scientists who do not agree with these researches. One such scientist is Alabama state climatologist, John Christy, who works with the University of Alabama in Huntsville. John Christy and his group use global surface temperature values derived from satellite observations in the micro wave part of solar spectrum, which do not show sufficient warming in the global mean temperature as claimed by other researchers. Recently John posted a letter in Earth & Sky titled ‘The biased notion of catastrophic climate change’. He expressed his feeling by saying ‘After 18 years of collecting, analyzing and publishing global temperature data (which does show some warming, by the way), I have become accustomed to being labeled an outcast and a minority scientist’. He ends the letter with following words ‘Despite assertions and claims made to the contrary, the real science of climate change and global warming is less certain, less reliable and substantially less unanimous than one might think based on news reports, even reports from Earth & Sky, which are, admittedly, less alarmist than the mainstream media’.

After all these discussion, I would say ‘if we put some thing (gases or aerosols) in the atmosphere it will affect the weather and climate and observations show increasing trend in major greenhouse gases (warming effect) and aerosols (both cooling and warming effect) over last century. But in order to quantify these effects and predict the climate change (temperature), our scientific understanding on these complex systems has to be improved.'

1 comment:

Harish Gadhavi said...

Indeed very good article, I liked it.