6 July 2012
Imagine you are slowly filling a bathtub with water, and are measuring how deep the water is at frequent intervals. Also imagine, that at times your dog jumps in while you’re measuring, and this of course causes you to get a higher water level. The dog gets back out, and the water level drops slightly, but not as much as it was before because the faucet is still running, and the water is still slowly filling the tub. Imagine too that the faucet is bad, and that it is slowly opening wider, so the rate of increase is also itself increasing.
The same thing is happening to our planet’s temperature. Increasing greenhouse gases are slowly raising the temperature of the planet, but ocean currents like La Nina and El Nino also have a significant effect. The gases are increasing at an ever faster rate as well, just like the bad faucet. When there is a La Nina with a large region of cold water in the Pacific, the planet cools (it’s the same as the dog jumping out of the tub).
An El Nino, which fills much of the Pacific with warm water, warms the planet. It’s the same as the dog jumping into the bath tub. The water is sloshing up and down, but as long as the faucet is running, you know that in the long run the water level is going up.
If an El Nino does indeed develop later this summer and linger into the Northern Hemisphere winter then we will likely see a new record temperature for the planet. The super El Nino of 1998 brought us a very warm planet and the following La Nina cooled us back somewhat. Since then, we have started rising again, and in spite of last year’s La Nina we have seen the planet get even warmer. The cooling after the 98 El Nino led political extremists (with little or no knowledge of atmospheric science) to boldly claim that climate change stopped in 1998.
Hopefully, you can now see what a load of pure poppycock that is.
It’s strange how far people will go when scientific facts conflict strongly with their political or religious views. They desperately search for anything that will confirm their belief. When several scientific studies indicated that North Carolina should prepare for a rise in sea level of 3 feet or more by the end of the century, guess what claim some politicians used to pass a law that says the science must be ignored?
Yup, the silly mantra that climate change stopped in 1998!
So here are some real facts. You know, the kind of thing that North Carolina legislators need to outlaw as soon as possible:
1. The World will see an increase in droughts and floods over the upcoming year. How bad it will be varies with each El Nino. Most likely, Australia will get the drought and the Gulf Coast will get the floods.
2. The number of Atlantic hurricanes will likely drop, but other factors can override this to a significant degree.
3. 15 of the last 16 years have been the warmest on record and there will likely be a new record warm year on the books for planet Earth.
4. The few remaining skeptics will claim that it is all just a natural cycle, which is partially true!
Interesting isn’t it, how a partial truth can be the biggest of lies.