Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh, just turn down the thermostat and forget it!

NASA is out with another report on the climate. Their data on the earth's temperature show that the last 12-month period is the warmest on record. In addition, April 2010 was the hottest April on record and March 2010 was the hottest March on record. Furthermore, taken together, January, February and March this year set records as the hottest of that three-month period on record. NASA now predicts that a new record 12-month global temperature will almost certainly be set in 2010. This has all happened, or is happening, in spite of the "moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance."

So, during this period, there has been reduced solar irradiance which should have meant that the earth would be cooler. Instead, we've recorded the hottest temperatures on record. Gee, I wonder how that could have possibly happened?

But...but, 1998 was cooler. And all those purloined emails from scientists in England - didn't they prove that the data was dodgy and that scientists just made it all up? Besides, there were snowstorms in the Northeast last winter. Doesn't that prove the earth is cooler?

1998 was an anomalous year and only one year. Every year since then has been one of the hottest on record. The purloined emails only proved that scientists are human but did not call into question any of the data. Snowstorms happen in winter. If it starts snowing in the Northeast in July and August, then the deniers might have a case. Or not.

What can we do about this? Just turn down the thermostat and forget it? Shouldn't we be trying to affect the policies of our country to address the monumental problem of climate change and all the related problems that it brings? There is a bill before the Senate now, a far from perfect bill, but then most bills that manage to get brought up in that imperfect body are. Imperfect, but it's a start. Perhaps we can begin with that and build on it.

Meantime, the news media in this country could do us all a favor and do its job by reporting the data from NASA, instead of engaging in the kind of he said/she said polemics that they usually employ. Just the facts, media. Just report the temperature data. Everyone is entitled to form his or her own opinion, but there is only one set of facts. Why don't you report them for a change?

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