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July 31, 2006

Criticizing global warming

Dr. Peter Doran, an antarctic climate resesarcher at UIC, was the author of one of two studies that the polemicists like to use to dispute global warming. Although he's tried to correct the out-of-control spinning on the topic that certain deniers are wont to do, he's been largely unsuccessful. Politics and news, as always, trump both accuracy and honesty. In a recent article for the Amherst Times (apparently pulled mostly from his review of An Inconvenient Truth, which he gives "two frozen thumbs up"), he discusses this problem, and the facts. From the original:

...back to our Antarctic climate story, we indeed stated that a majority -- 58 percent -- of the continent cooled between 1966 and 2000, but let’s not forget the remainder was warming. One region, the Antarctic Peninsula, warmed at orders of magnitude more than the global average. Our paper did not predict the future and did not make any comment on climate anywhere else on Earth except to say, in our very first sentence, that the Earth’s average air temperature increased by 0.06 degrees Celsius per decade in the 20th century.

New models created since our paper was published have suggested a link between the lack of significant warming in Antarctica to the human-induced ozone hole over the continent. Besides providing a protective layer over the Earth, ozone is a greenhouse gas. The models now suggest that as the ozone hole heals, thanks to world-wide bans on harmful CFCs, aerosols, and other airborne particles, Antarctica should begin to fall in line and warm up with the rest of the planet. These models are conspicuously missing from climate skeptic literature. Also missing is the fact that there has been some debate in the science community over our results. We continue to stand by the results for the period analyzed, but an unbiased coverage would acknowledge the differences of opinion.

Tip to onegoodmove.

posted July 31, 2006 04:18 PM in Global Warming | permalink