Monday, April 30, 2007

My Ignorance Concerning Climate Change

I am tired of my lack of knowledge on how climate works. I hear one side saying that man is causing global warming, and the other saying that this is bad science. The 'man' side says that the 'sun' side is in the pockets of the oil companies. The 'sun' side says that the 'man' side is full of communists who want to take down capitalism. So who do you believe? The problem is that I know next to nothing about climatology. So whatever I believe is going to be based not on my knowledge of the scientific workings of the atmosphere, sun, climate, pollution, etc, but on what someone else tells me. Something tells me that the majority of other earthlings subject to this debate are in the same boat as I am.

But I don't like being ignorant. Ergo, I have decided to visit the local library for books on climatology, meteorology, weather, etc. I want to learn enough about the subject so that I can make an *informed* decision, rather than taking someone else's word at face value.

There are a few subjects that interest me more than others. I watched a fascinating video called "The Great Global Warming Swindle" (which I would recommend everyone watch) in which they threw around a whole lot of scientific terms that seemed very credible to me -- but that I want to know more about. One scientist mentioned that a basis for the study of severe weather is that the greater delta T (that is, the change in temperature) between the poles and the equator, the greater the chance for severe weather. This does not readily mesh with traditional global warming propaganda (for lack of a better term), which has made the public believe that if the Earth warms, there will be more hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, etc. If the scientist's claim was correct, it would mean that unless the temperature at the equator was rising at a greater rate than that at the poles, the incidence of severe weather would remain largely the same as it has generally been. And, without having studied the subject myself, there seems to be no reason why global warming would effect the equatorial regions of the Earth more than the poles.

But the truth is that I have no idea if that particular scientist (or any others, from either camp) was making a valid claim, and I'm tired of being part of the uninformed masses.

If you, too, would like to learn more about how the Earth's weather and climate works, you can find information about meteorology in section 551 at your library. Looking through 533 (on gases -- for information on atmosphere) might also be useful. 508 (natural history) might contain some good information about Ice Ages and possibly something about the Medieval Warm Period. If you want to know more about how the sun works, try 523 (Specific celestial bodies & phenomena). Be sure to browse all of the 550s (Earth Sciences) just in case another interesting title catches your eye.

Oh, and if you want to know more about the global warming debate/problem, be sure to also check out 363 - Other Social Problems and Services.

Depending on my continued interest in this subject, there might be more posts on the science behind weather/climate/global warming to come.

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1 have poured out their souls in electronic text:

  • Alan

    I suspect most people choose the position their political "side" has chosen. So political liberals believe it is primarily caused by man, and political conservatives believe it is primarily caused by natural processes.

    Note that much of academia is in the liberal political tribe, as is much of the media. So their tribe's opinion is what you hear the most.

    It is much easier to adopt the opinion of your tribe than to work out your own opinion from hard science. Good luck in your quest!