I’m in a bit of a quandary at the moment. On the one hand I have an un-reasoned, un-researched believe that Global Warming is real and is happening NOW! For example look at the way the polar ice sheets are melting and the way in which glaciers around the world are evaporating away.
On the other hand I went to England in Jan 2010 to visit with my mom who was having a pacemaker installed, and they were having the worst snow for years and years … of course that was until this Christmas that’s just passed, when it was even worse. Even here in Huntsville Alabama we got 8” just a week or so ago.
Of course the climate is a hugely complex beast. The arid and temperate bands tend to move around over time. Ten thousand years ago, for example, what we now know as the Sahara Desert was a lush, tropical paradise.
And then there are some folks who think we’re heading into another Ice Age. And others who say that the carbon dioxide we’re pumping into the atmosphere (that would promote global warming) is actually offsetting the onset of the ice age.
And there are so many things that can go wrong, or at least change in ways that will almost certainly be unfortunate for many of us, like the deep ocean currents stalling or changing direction, or a reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field, or the super volcano under Yellowstone Park letting go…
Still, you have to laugh (as they say), so I must admit that I really enjoyed an animation I just saw in which Global Warming is explained (or not as the case might be):
The biggest problem I see with Global warming may not be the warming itself, but rather the fact that it is so politicized. So much of the data is slanted, misinterpreted (purposely or accidentally), misrepresented, invented or hidden amongst the noise. Virtually everyone involved in the debate has an agenda. There are so many opinions that it's pretty much impossible to tell which opinion is informed and which is not.
I know some people in the more Northern latitudes that would be quite happy with more global warming. If the warming causes the wet and dry bands to shift, who's to say that's a bad thing? Maybe the Sahara will get some rain again. Isn't it about time?
Back in the olden days, like before I was born, if the climate shifted, people would just gradually move their farms to the North or to the South as appropriate. We have cars now, so can't we just move North or South even faster?
It seems fairly easy to empirically determine that warming is taking place. 100 years ago, ice in the Columbia River, near where I live, was not unheard of. It's been decades since the river's even come close to freezing over in these parts. Just looking at old newspaper clippings, one can see that larger snowfalls were much more common 50 years ago than now. Plus my dad had to walk to school uphill both ways in blizzards every day. Glaciers are receding. There's plenty of observational evidence that doesn't require data from a thousand monitoring stations.
What isn't so easy to empirically determine is what is man's contribution to the warming? Is the rising CO2 causal or correlational? Will the world as a whole be better or worse a few degrees warmer? Is the warming a one directional trend or just part of a cycle?
The answers to those questions are the one mired in politics and agendas. As for my thoughts; when it's cold I say I want more global warming. When it's hot, I say I want less global warming. There are no clear thoughts on the subject coming out of my brain.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.