The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)
July 22, 2008
But go back to the first half of that last sentence. What if global warming isn’t occurring at all?
GlobalWarming.org first notes that the average temperature in 1979 and the average temperature in June 2008 is the same. This graph shows that temperatures have generally ranged from 0.5 degrees cooler than normal to 0.6 degrees warmer than normal in the past 19 years, with notable cooling around the eruption of the Mount Pinatubo volcano in late 1992 and notable warming during an El Niño event in early 1998.
The next map, from NASA, shows the change in surface temperatures in 2007 and 2008 compared with average surface temperatures between 1995 and 2000. The blues on the map show cooling, and the yellows and oranges show warming.
Note that the northern U.S. and Canada have cooled, while the southern U.S. is warmer. Note also that the northern and central Atlantic Ocean and northern and southeastern Pacific Ocean have cooled, but the rest of the Pacific, along with the Indian Ocean have cooled.
Not convinced? OK, let’s compare 2000 to 2008 against 1900 to 2000. Note that the U.S. from the Plains east has warmed some, but not from the Plains west. The southern half of South America and northern Europe have cooled, while the southwestern half of Europe and eastern Asia have warmed. The Arctic has warmed, while the Antarctic has both warmed and cooled. The Atlantic and southeastern Pacific oceans have warmed, but not the western Pacific. (Click here to comparisons of your own using a variety of variables.)
This isn’t proof of global warming. It may be proof of warming within regions of the globe, but it may also be proof of cooling within other regions of the globe. That suggests that solutions to global warming are solutions to what is not a global problem, and may actually have negative effects in some parts of the planet. (Free market solutions are better anyway.)
It’s interesting to note that the global warming true believers not only entertain no doubt about their belief in global warming, but they actively attack the more skeptical. Heidi Cullen, host of “Forecast Earth” on The Weather Channel, has gone so far as to advocate that meteorologists who dare question global warming have their American Meteorological Society certifications revoked. Apparently science is no longer interested in testing theories.