One of the most under-reported facts about global warming is that, well, it’s not actually happening. The major climate change debates in this country have been going on for about a decade now, a time during which this mysterious global warming phenomenon has not been occurring. At least, not in the way the mainstream press contends. How many times do they bring up that fact on NBC Nightly News? How many times did Al Gore mention that in his documentary?
Because they can’t ignore it completely, though, a NASA scientist addressed the recent 15 year warming “hiatus” in a lecture delivered at the Langley Research Center on Tuesday. Norman Loeb was quick to point out that though warming had slowed considerably, it had not stopped entirely. Even so, he was forced to acknowledge that the slowed rate was enough to embolden skeptics who believe the whole thing was a political hoax from the get-go.
Solar radiation variability, aerosol pollution, and water vapor were all cited by Loeb as he delved into the reasons behind the hiatus. He also pointed out the coincidence of El Nino-esque climate patterns that have historically accompanied similar slowdowns in global warming. “For average climate records, thirty years is like one data point,” Loeb said in his lecture, though he went on to reinforce the fact that temperatures were still rising. “It’s really forcing us to look at our models and observations and ask questions.”
Sadly, it’s unlikely that any of those questions will be of a particularly enlightening nature. Climate change isn’t the only politically-motivated brand of science, but it has certainly become the worst of them. The earth’s climate, according to our best historical analyses, has always gone through long periods of cooling and warming. This is the natural way of the planet and it was so long before humans walked its surface. Ice core samples dating back almost 700,000 years demonstrate that the latest warming trend is fully within the boundaries established by natural variability.
It’s essential that scientists continue their research into the area of climate change, global warming, and anything else that could drastically affect our way of life in the next century. The problem isn’t the science or the data, but rather the frantic stretches from many in the field that attempt to link global warming with this political policy or that bit of corporate irresponsibility. This is where we leave the cozy confines of science and enter the cutthroat world of politics. Unfortunately, far too many mainstream news stories fail to make a distinction between the two.