For a long time now, science reporters have been confidently told the science is settled. That the planet is warming and humans are unquestionably the primary cause. We've been told to trust the computer models -- the models which show a markedly upward trend in temperatures as carbon dioxide concentrations increase. And I've trusted the scientists telling me this. . .(via Watts Up With That?)
It seems pretty clear that the models forecast a steady upward trend in global temperatures as long as carbon dioxide levels rise. (Which they have). Yet according to satellite and surface temperature measurements the global average temperature has essentially remained flat for the last 12 years. This strikes me as somewhat curious.
When An Inconvenient Truth came out I believed the movie to be scientifically accurate. Carbon dioxide levels were rising and so were temperatures. And hurricane activity, especially after the disastrous 2005 season, was out of control.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the world: hurricane activity on the global scale is near historical lows. And the Earth seems to have, at least temporarily, stopped warming. . .
Four years ago this all seemed like a fait accompli. Humans were unquestionably warming the climate and changing the planet forever through their emissions of carbon dioxide.
The problem is that some climate scientists and environmentalists have been so determined to see something done about carbon dioxide emissions -- now -- that they have glossed over the uncertainties.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Eric Berger, science writer for the Houston Chronicle: