Hello Cruel World
Sunday, May 18, 2003
Changing Climate FAQ
A quick FAQ on the 'myths' propagated to make people feel better about the dangers of changing climate.
UPDATE: Link changed with time.
- Global Warming Myths and Facts ( www.environmentaldefense.org/ page.cfm?tagID=1011)
PDF 'More Myths and Facts' (www.environmentaldefense.org/ documents/ 4418_MythsvFacts_05.pdf)
I've heard people say that 'climate change' is being used as a euphemism (an euphemism?) for 'global warming' because it's more generalised and anodyne. They say that global warming sounds scarier.
I disagree. For a start, when there's floods and blizzards and record low temperatures, you hear people say that that disproves the idea of global warming, when it may be evidence for it.
I think calling it 'global warming' is a mistake, people in cooler climates just think, 'hey, that'd be nice'. It's increasing the energy put into the system:
the Highs get higher,
the Lows get lower,
the Drys get drier,
the Winds get blowier,
and whole systems that are balanced get tipped, and who knows which way they'll go?
EXAMPLE: There's some thought that if certain changes happen in the temperature of the atmosphere & water, that the Gulf Stream which carries warm water & air from the tropical part of the western side of the Atlantic to the cool-temperate part of the eastern side will no longer operate. The climate of the British Isles would revert back to that of, say, Norway, instead of being kept closer to that of, say, France.
Whereas a lot of Brits think: 'Warming? Mmmm, nice.'
A few of the other sites discussing this,which give different examples, other aspects & viewpoints:
Sudden Climate Change?
"When 'climate change' is referred to in the press, it normally means greenhouse warming, which, it is predicted, will cause flooding, severe windstorms, and killer heat waves. But warming could also lead, paradoxically, to abrupt and drastic cooling:
The New Scientist
Global Environment Report: All you ever wanted to know about climate change
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Ocean & Climate Change Institute: Abrupt Climate Change
Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. But recent and rapidly advancing evidence demonstrates that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted dramatically and in time spans as short as a decade. And abrupt climate change may be more likely in the future.
(This lists links to articles of interest, including a FAQ: Common Misconceptions about Abrupt Climate Change.)
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