Perhaps I’m growing too intolerant of ignorance as I age, but I really get sick of people making the stupid jokes that go something like, “This Global Warming sure is making things cold” or “I need to go run my car to warm things up.” Most of these jokes are from conservatives who seem to gravitate towards derision to explain away complexities they don’t want to spend the time to learn well.
It’s cold because it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. This has to do with the tilt of the earth on its axis and the duration of sunlight each day during these months. In the Southern Hemisphere right now, it’s summer, and on the continent of Australia, there has been an epic drought for most of the last decade. This year, they happen to be getting record floods.
The phrase Global Warming was part of the title of a 1975 paper by Dr. Wallace Broecker, “Climate Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” Mass Media focused on the phrase Global Warming because it’s sensational and sells more newspapers than Climate Change, but most scientists I know prefer the latter because it is more accurate in its description of the situation. The hypothesis is that greenhouse gases generated by excessive use of fossil fuels have caused the earth to trap more heat from the sun, thus warming the oceans and creating unstable weather patterns across the entire planet. Most scientists who do not let their political beliefs cloud their objectivity agree that something is happening to the climate that is unusual. The only real debate among scientists either not on a payroll of an oil company or on the grassroots campaign trail for Jeb 12 is whether or not these changes to the climate are part of a natural cycle or caused by man’s activities. My guess is that, like most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle.