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My Turn: I’m not sweating recent climate news

By Bruce La Rue

The recent warm spell was quite likely the result of hot breath from a collective sigh of relief from the man-made global warming community upon the release of data indicating that 2015 was the hottest year on record, nationally and globally. As if that were not enough to break out the Dom Perignon, NASA also announced that the global temperature rose 1.4 degrees F. since 1880, a statistic that must have the doomsday pimps snipping the ends from cigars made in the warmer parts of the world.

While this news may have brought about some wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth among many deniers, sending them scurrying over to denier websites for comfort, solace and contradictory data, I chose a different tack; I went to the sources. Every bit of my research took place on NASA, NOAA, EPA, and affiliated sites. It worked out really well.

A little panning at an EPA website quickly produced color, literally and figuratively. According to data gathered by NOAA, some regions of the 48 contiguous states, as well as Alaska, have seen more warming than others. What shows up on an accompanying map, yet escapes any acknowledgement in print, probably due to space constraints, is that temperatures in the Mid-South have averaged lower during the same period. A similar trend plays out globally on a NASA website. In addition to the numbers and graphs reinforcing the claim of warmest average global temperature on record, there is a map of the world showing hot spots as well as several areas in which average temperatures are below average. The west coast of Africa, from Western Sahara to the Gulf of Guinea, stands out as a particularly warm outlier. A quick perusal of the map reveals quite a few cold spots around the world, belying the implication that the entire world is warming. Again, these are data from NASA and NOAA. It would appear we are in the same garden, just picking different vegetables to suit our respective tastes. The difference is, a lowly contributor to a small-town newspaper is no match for national outlets eager to force-feed us their tainted harvest.

Let us say, for the sake of discussion, that we become masters of the universe and develop a method for reversing global warming, even to the point that we are able to offset solar, oceanic and geothermal influences. Does anyone really think we could ever cool one region without affecting others? As the Mid-South becomes colder, the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will combine with it to create catastrophic storms. Haven’t they suffered enough recently? If we drop the temperature of the North Atlantic Current by a couple of degrees, we can build up polar ice and, oh yes, close Barents Bay and half of Scandinavia to shipping and fishing. Ireland sits at about the same latitude as the Aleutian Islands. It could go from 40 shades of green to one shade of white without a warm NAC. How about an ice bridge from Antarctica to South America?

Back to reality, the celebration on the part of professional alarmists is understandable. They recently suffered a PR setback when the IPCC concluded there had been no significant increase in global surface temperature in the preceding 15 years, resulting in the obligatory wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, followed by explanations bordering on comical. To their credit, some scientists chose integrity over spin in stating they were mystified. Others, upon gathering their composure, and in their usual sanctimonious and condescending manner, said something along the lines of, “As we have said all along, natural variations and patterns may alter the rate of warming, but global warming is still happening. Please don’t pull our grant money.”

In fact, some in the man-made global warming camp actually resorted to truthfulness in their explanations, citing natural climate cycles (La Nina and a negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation), a lower than usual solar minimum cycle, several volcanic eruptions … hey, wait a doggone minute. These are the kinds of things deniers have been shouting from the rooftops for years. More important, all of these naturally occurring factors are beyond our control.

In geologic terms, 150 years or so is not a very long time. Moreover, we have been obsessed with global temperatures for only about the last 40 years, about the time we were warned about an impending ice age and were somehow conned into believing that our Freon and deodorant propellants could make the arduous 6-mile journey to the stratosphere and deplete the ozone layer. Only in the last 50 years have weather satellites been able to peer down into the troposphere and monitor our temperatures, such data tainted only by the occasional commercial jet engine, its exhaust exceeding 1000 degrees F., a fraction of the global warming produced by that collective sigh of relief.

Bruce La Rue lives in Mt. Ulla.

My Turn submissions should be 500-700 words. Please email to letters@salisburypost.com with “My Turn” in the subject line. Include name, address, phone number and, if possible, a  photo of yourself.

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