Jim Driver: Human caused global warming is irrefutable?
Recently, on the Opinion Page of “The Union”, there have been a number of articles concerning climate change.
On one side of the debate you have those that insist that the science behind human caused global warming is irrefutable. On the other you have those that say that global warming is occurring, but, it is unclear how much can be attributed to human activity.
Since the science behind the global warming debate is based on computer modeling, that science can only be as accurate as the data included in the model.
And, since new data is continually being learned, the science behind human-caused global warming cannot be irrefutable, and therefore must be used only as a guide to possible future events.
Here is one of the newest pieces of information on global warming, by Thomas Sumner published in the Sept. 5, 2015 issue of “SN”, the “Science News” magazine; it concerns the sequestering of carbon: “The wet underside of deserts may stash up to a trillion metric tons of climate altering carbon, more than stored in all land-based plants, a new study suggests. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Scientists, however, can’t account for where as much as 30 percent of this CO2 ends up.
“‘We’ve found a carbon sink in the most unlikely place,’ says Yan Li, an ecologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Urumqi. Up to a fifth of this missing carbon may end up beneath irrigated deserts, Li and colleagues propose in the July 28 Geophysical Research Letters. In arid regions, water from irrigation can flush carbon into underground aquifers, reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and combat greenhouse gas warming, researchers report.”
The article then explains how: “Farmers in arid climates typically over water crops to flush out the salt from the soil. As the water passes through the salty soil, the amount of dissolved carbon in the water more than doubles, the researchers found. Salty, alkaline water can hold more carbon than pure water. Some water makes its way into aquifers, locking away carbon that would normally escape back into the atmosphere. This process boosts the annual amount of CO2 absorbed by each square meter of desert from 1.34 grams to 20 grams or more, akin to the amount of CO2 absorbed by forests, the researchers estimate. If this process occurs elsewhere, desert aquifers may rank among the top three largest active carbon sinks on land, Li says.
“Dating of groundwater samples showed an uptick in carbon collection starting 2,000 years ago, when farming in the area increased. Water usually stays trapped in desert aquifers and is too salty for drinking or irrigation.”
It seems to me that too many “experts,” forget the fact that the world has been in a state of global warming since the last ice age concluded some 20,000 years ago. If you had been alive back then, you would have found New York under a huge ice sheet; in some places it was estimated to be many thousands of feet thick.
According to a historical article in “New York Nature:”
“The Laurentide ice sheet advanced and retreated over a period of 60,000 years. The last advance reached maximum 22,000 years ago, extending from southeast Alberta across what are now the Great Lakes to the east coast.” The article continues: “Sea water was locked up in ice, lowering the sea level by 350 feet compared to today; from Cape Cod southward, the coastal plain jutted out 50 to 100 miles further than the present shoreline, almost to the edge of the continental shelf.”
Yes, global warming is real. We see the results of that all around us. But if you take the time to look at the temperature charts from the past ice ages (Wikipedia is a good source), you will find that, except for the last 5,000 years, there have been large temperature changes over relatively short periods of time for the last 120,000 years.
The last 5,000 years have been very kind to humans because the temperature has been very mild with unprecedented temperature stability.
So it seems to me that the debate on global warming is far from over, and that we should never accept something as fact just because “that’s what everyone else believes.”
As always, verify the facts yourself. Just a concerned citizen, interested in making sure that all of the facts are known.
Jim Driver lives in Rough and Ready.
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