Global warming, climate change, and research

Irish Weather Online has four volunteer weather enthusiasts running this blog and the associated Facebook site. So what’s our group consensus about global warming and climate change?

Peter says, “No doubt human activity has some effect on climate, but I feel that the natural variability of climate is the more important driver of the recent ups and downs in temperatures that have seen a record cold March and what’s shaping up to be a very warm summer. To some extent, climate change is a theory that evades proof since the climate is always changing and has done so for as long as records have been kept. My gut feeling is that the warming that took place from about 1987 to 2006 in many parts of the northern hemisphere was more driven by natural cycles than greenhouse gas increases. Perhaps the human contribution was about one third, but more recently we’ve seen a slowing down of this warming trend and even some signs of cooling. Europe has seen some of its coldest winters since the 1940s, other than the epic winter of 1962-63. To my mind, the issue has been somewhat over-hyped by its proponents and taken up by the media and certain political groups to further agendas that are perhaps not so much scientific as economic. That makes for questionable science and perhaps poor economic planning. But I’m not a complete skeptic, I do think there’s some warming going on in the background of natural changes. It would be smart to place limits on greenhouse gas emissions. But it would be perhaps more urgently useful to cut back on sooty types of pollution, these are actually more concerning to many people who have studied the actual dynamics of arctic ice variations in recent years.”

Fergal says, “Climate is, by definition, an average representation of the natural variation in weather over a sufficiently-long period, taken as 30 years. Within this period we see wide variations on shorter timescales (decade-to-decade, year-to-year), and even wider variations the shorter we go, down to the natural seasonal and diurnal cycles. Zooming out the other way, to longer and longer timescales of a few climate periods, we see that these too have always shown natural variations similar to those above, and looking out even wider to centuries and millennia, the same picture applies. Natural ups and downs, periods of abrupt warming and cooling. Climate has and always will show natural variation, but this is a message that is often lost amongst the general public. The term “climate change” has become a term to be feared and one used to portray the wrong message, just like the word “carbon” comes with negative connotations (carbon-tax, carbon-footprint, etc.), even though it is the most abundant element in the natural world and makes up every molecule in our body. “Carbon dioxide” is the alleged culprit, not carbon. Anthropogenic Climate Change (AGW) is the term that describes that portion of climate change that can be attributed to human influence, but I personally feel its extent is much less than that claimed, with no real warming occurring in the last 16 years (contrary to predictions). We should not be worrying about this when there are many more greater problems to address. I DO believe, however, that we need to cut out our reliance on fossil fuels and infinitely expand our use of natural energy resources. If the over-hyped AGW argument goes some way to achieving this then I suppose it won’t have been a total waste of time”.

On the research front, Peter (posting on Net-weather as Roger J Smith) has documented a large number of natural cycles that appear to be caused by interactions between the Moon, solar system magnetic field sectors, and our atmosphere. Taking the long-term temperature data from the “Central England” (CET) set (1659-present for months, 1772-present for days) and also from Toronto, Canada (1841-present) and some archived data from earlier years in other locations in eastern North America, it has been possible to compare these natural variations and form some theories about process around the hemisphere. At this point after many years of work on that framework, Peter O’Donnell says that he thinks many dozens or even hundreds of small to medium sized signals may exist and that climatic variability may depend on how all of these interact, what patterns they create in both atmosphere and sea surface temperatures or ice cover, and how this all relates to ongoing fluctuations in solar activity. As one example, there appears to be a regular cycle of about 0.5 C degrees associated with solar system field sectors that rotate in sync with Jupiter. A complete summary of these findings can be found in the “Science” forum on Net-weather (see weather links for that website address).

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