Global Warming and Climate Change are phenomena that broke the bonds of scientific circles to emerge as a matter of debate between 'believers' and 'skeptics.' Countless studies validating and denying global warming have seen the light of the day providing fodder for more debates, some of which somewhat bitter. A couple of days back reports of Al Gore's use of curse words against skeptics, during a heated rant, was doing the rounds on the Internet. The Nobel Peace Prize winner called those who deny global warming "pseudo-scientists" and accused media of manipulating evidence about global warming.
Past Climate Change Caused Largest Extinction of Life 250 Million Years Ago
The latest study by University of California, Berkeley, published online on Aug. 5, throws some light on past climate changes. The devastation of conifer forests about 250 million years ago was caused by tree-killing fungi whose growth was triggered by global climate change, says the study, which will appear in the print edition of the journal Geology in September.
In what is considered the largest extinction of life on earth, 95 percent of marine organisms and 70 percent of land organisms died, due to heavily altered climate caused by high amounts of gas and dust thrown into the atmosphere. According to scientists, the climate change occurred as a result of volcanic eruptions in the region now identified as Siberia.
The crisis, which occurred when today's continents were part of the supercontinent Pangaea, replaced conifer forests with lycopods (4-foot-tall relatives of today's diminutive club mosses) and seed ferns (pteridosperms). The conifers didn't recover for another 4 to 5 million years, says the study.
The researchers say destruction of Earth's protective ozone layer due to high amounts of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere might also have led to the annihilation of conifers. But, "whatever (the) sequence of events that triggered ecosystem destabilization on land, the aggressiveness of soil-borne pathogenic fungi must have been an integral factor involved in Late Permian forest decline worldwide," the paper says.
While warning the world about a similar large scale extinction of life due to global warming, the study provides strong points to support the global warming skeptics. The whole thing occurred 250 million years ago when mammals didn't exist, which means even Al Gore style of extrapolated computer models wouldn't be able to hold humans responsible for the catastrophe!
Recent Study on NASA Satellite Data Proved Global Warming Doomsters' Theories Wrong
A recently released study based on the data procured by NASA satellites from the years 2000 through 2011, and published in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing, reported that Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than global warming proponents' computer models have predicted.
The data also supports prior studies which suggested that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap is far less than what has been claimed by the global warming doomsters.
The discrepancy between the model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming has given rise to heated debates for more than two decades.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Dr. Roy Spencer, study co-author and principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, said in a press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
When applied to long-term climate change, the research suggests that the climate is less sensitive to warming due to increased carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere than climate modelers have theorized. A major underpinning of global warming theory is that the slight warming caused by enhanced greenhouse gases should change cloud cover in ways that cause additional warming, which would be a positive feedback cycle.
Numerous decisive factors, including clouds, solar radiation, heat rising from the oceans and different time lags make it impossible to accurately identify which piece of Earth's changing climate is a feedback from man-made greenhouse gases.
"There are simply too many variables to reliably gauge the right number for that," Spencer said. "The main finding from this research is that there is no solution to the problem of measuring atmospheric feedback, due mostly to our inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in our observations."
Arctic Ice Melting Follows Standard Natural Cycles
Scottish scientist Dr. Chad Dick, of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromso, after researching the log books of Arctic explorers spanning the past 300 years, believes the outer edge of sea ice may expand and contract over regular periods of 60 to 80 years. According to his research findings, he concluded that "the recent worrying changes in Arctic sea ice are simply the result of standard cyclical movements, and not a harbinger of major climate change."
How Far Will You Go Only with the Support of Extrapolation?
Global warming doomsters predict future changes by extrapolating from observed data and by including factors which are unreliable in predicting trends.
In a research paper titled "The Science Isn't Settled: The Limitations of Global Climate Models" Dr. Tim Ball of The George Marshall Institute, Washington, D.C. argues that climate changes significantly all the time and current changes are well within natural variability. He says that even though Carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming or climate change, it is the key element forced in model simulations. The paper disregards the climate models, as they are based on the laws of physics but are unable to forecast with any acceptable of accuracy beyond 10 days and are unable to recreate past known conditions (Known as hindsight forecasting).
Do We Have to Live Under Threat Predicted by a Computer Model?
Well, that is something each one has to decide. Now that the phenomenon is more of a concept, one has to decide between being a Global Warming 'believer' or 'atheist.' However, everyone can be sure of seeing more studies supporting, denying or maintaining equal stance about Climate Change, in future.
Gayathri writes about geopolitics and business for International Business Times. She began her career at the Times of India as news coordinator, before moving on to IBTimes...