Monday, March 10, 2014
By SHARON S. TISHER
Our Earth is warming. On the same day that you report a new Associated Press poll finding that four out of five Americans now think temperatures are rising and global warming will be a serious problem ("Even science doubters now think world is warming
," Dec. 14), M.D. Harmon clings tenaciously to the diminishing doubting minority ("Climate change establishment feathers its own nest -- with tax money,"
He claims that the British Meteorological Office reported last October that there "has been absolutely no net change (in global temperatures) in the succeeding 16 years (since 1996)." Mr. Harmon's source is a misleading story from the British tabloid Daily Mail. That story was thoroughly refuted by the British Meteorological Office. An excellent summary of the article and its refutation was posted on Oct. 15 at minnesota.publicradio.org.
The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1996. 2012 will be added to that list, and for the United States 2012 was the hottest year on record.
Scientists have observed rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, melting Arctic sea ice and increased humidity over the last several decades. The full range of available data from 1880 conclusively shows the world is warming. That trend will continue as long as humans send carbon pollution into the atmosphere.
There's also a tendency for some people to concentrate on air temperatures when there are other, more useful, indicators of how rapidly the world is warming.
Oceans -- due to their immense size and heat storing capability -- tend to give a much more "steady" indication of the warming that is happening. When we look at ocean temperatures, records show that the Earth has been warming at a steady rate before and since 1996 and there are no signs of it slowing anytime soon.
I urge readers to look at The Climate Reality Project's realitydrop.org for helpful responses to this and other climate myths fostered by fossil fuel interests, which have every reason to deny the truth.
Sharon S. Tisher, J.D., is a lecturer in the school of economics and honors college, University of Maine.