Memo from Reality to Global Climate Change Deniers: Even though somewhere it's really cold and there's a lot of snow on the ground, this doesn't mean global warming isn't happening.
You'd think this would be obvious to anyone with half a brain.
But anti-scientific right-wingers don't seem to be operating with a full cranium when it comes to global warming.
I liked Cheryl Smith's letter to the editor in today's Portland Oregonian.
I know it must be highly amusing for you, but will the day ever come that you don't print letters from global warming deniers that equate our local weather condition with the larger phenomena of climate change? I'm sure they think they are being very clever but it's getting kind of stale.
That's for sure.
This was Portland's snowiest December ever -- which means zilch when it comes to understanding the Earth's overall temperature trend.
But try telling that to all of those who crowed, "Ooh, ooh, the roads are covered with ice! Where's Al Gore's global warming now?!"
Well, right where it's always been: on the pedestal of virtually certain facts.
The Bush administration isn't a big promoter of climate change literacy (to put it mildly), but even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that global warming is happening:
Scientists know with virtual certainty that:
- Human activities are changing the composition of Earth's atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood.
- The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
- An “unequivocal” warming trend of about 1.0 to 1.7°F occurred from 1906-2005. Warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and over the oceans (IPCC, 2007).
- The major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. It is therefore virtually certain that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.
- Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the planet.
However, on Lars Larson's conservative talk show today (Rob Kremer stood in for Lars) I gritted my teeth as I listened to science writer David Appell grapple with two global warming deniers: Kremer and local meteorologist Chuck Weise.
Fortunately for my dental health I got to Lancaster Mall and shut off the car radio after hearing only about ten minutes of the hour-long program.
Appell made good sense. Kremer and Weise were just blathering.
But they could blather at a high volume, and confidently, even when facts were left far behind. So I fear that some listeners took them seriously rather than laughing at their ignorance.
Global warming is global.
The evidence for it is derived from many years of Earth-wide temperature observations. What happens one year in one part of the world has no scientific significance.
That's why "It's getting warm out there!" properly mocks those who had a lot to say about how global warming is a crock when a cold spell hit parts of the United States, but lost their tongues when unusual warmth recently embraced the country's eastern third.
And, no, the Earth didn't get cooler in the last decade, as I keep hearing on know-nothing conservative talk radio. It kept on warming. More facts:
So let it snow here in western Oregon. Or, not (which I'd prefer after dealing with tire chains for as much as I want to this winter).
Doesn't affect global warming reality.